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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • OSHA cites Cargill for violations at Dodge City plant

  • The federal government has proposed fining Cargill Meat Solutions $176,400 after inspectors reported finding workplace health and safety violations at the company’s Dodge City plant.


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  •     The federal government has proposed fining Cargill Meat Solutions $176,400 after inspectors reported finding workplace health and safety violations at the company’s Dodge City plant.
        Inspectors with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration reported two repeat and 23 serious violations at the beef-packing plant that exposed workers to occupational hazards, OSHA announced last week. The agency inspected the plant in November 2010 under a program that focuses on businesses with higher-than-average rates of injury and illness.
        “Many hazards at this facility existed for a long period of time, and there is just no excuse for exposing workers to them,” OSHA regional administrator Charles Adkins said in a news release. “It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employers.”
        Inspectors found that machinery in fixed locations was not anchored securely to prevent it from moving, and the plant was not using flexible cords properly, the agency said. Those findings prompted the citation for repeat violations.
        OSHA said it cited the plant for similar violations in February 2007 and again in October 2009.
        The allegations of serious violations concerned hazards associated with fall protection, entrances and exits, material storage and other issues, the agency said. A serious violation occurs when it is likely that death or serious injury could result from a hazard that the employer knew or should have known about.    After receiving the citations, Cargill officials have 15 days to decide whether they will comply with OSHA’s findings, request a conference with the agency’s area director in Wichita or challenge the findings before an independent panel.
        Cargill did not have the citations in hand when OSHA issued the news release last week, but the company has them now, said Mike Martin, director of communications for Cargill in Wichita. He said he did not know whether company officials had decided on a course of action.
        Martin said the company would address the allegations quickly and ensure the plant complies with all safety regulations.
        “Workplace safety’s a top priority for us, and we invest a lot of resources in that to ensure that there is a safe working environment and that employees at the end of the day are able to go home in the same condition as they came to work at the beginning of the day,” he said. “So we’ll address this with OSHA and have a dialogue with them.
        “But until such time as we do, we don’t know what the ultimate outcome is going to be.”
        
        Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or email him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.

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