WINESBURG, Ohio ‒ A chicken processing plant – with a long history of violations ‒ again failed to comply with federal safety regulations and exposed workers to multiple hazards while they processed chickens for commercial sale, federal inspectors found.
Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened a follow-up inspection under the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program at Case Farms Processing Inc. in Winesburg on Aug. 7, 2023. OSHA found machine guarding and trip-and-fall hazards in the facility’s live-hang department that were substantially similar to violations cited in a previous case.
OSHA cited the company for three repeat, seven serious and four other-than-serious violations for not using required lockout/tagout procedures, not training workers in such procedures, a lack of machine guarding to protect workers from contact with operating machine parts and exposing workers to fall and electrical hazards. The processing plant faces $393,449 in proposed OSHA penalties.
“Case Farms Processing again violated federal safety regulations to protect workers on the job. Returning to a facility to find similar violations identified in previous inspections, makes OSHA gravely concerned about worker safety at this facility,” said OSHA Area Director Larry Johnson in Columbus, Ohio. “Case Farms exposes its Winesburg workforce – mostly workers with limited English proficiency – to life altering injuries. The company must come into compliance immediately with the law.”
Since 1988, OSHA has cited Case Farms 70 times at its facilities in North Carolina and Ohio, resulting in about 450 violations issued. Most of those violations related to machine guarding, lockout/tagout procedures, fall and electrical hazards and processing safety management.
Case Farms is headquartered in Troutman, North Carolina, and employees 3,500 workers nationwide and 576 employees at this Winesburg, Ohio facility that process about approximately 140,000 chickens daily.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.