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Lockout/Tagout Failures at Case Farms Garner $1.4M in Fines

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Canton, OH – OSHA has levied penalties against Case Farms Processing Inc. for 16 violations at the chicken processor’s Canton facility. The supplier of fast food and supermarket chicken is facing more than $1.4 million in fines this year for worker safety and health violations.

OSHA says the lockout failures resulted in two serious injuries to workers while they cleaned machines: A 17-year-old worker (employed by cleaning subcontractor Cal-Clean) had his left leg amputated from the knee down, and a 24-year-old Case Farms employee lost two fingertips. Both workers were fired after the incidents.

OSHA requires equipment-specific lockout procedures for industrial machinery. These lockout/tagout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.  Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO (Lock Out, Tag Out) procedure development program is designed to provide high quality procedures that are easy for employees to follow.

OSHA cited Case Farms for safety violations with proposed penalties of $424,600 on Sept 24. The agency also penalized Cal-Clean’s owner, Callaghan and Callaghan with $179,700 in fines on Sept. 28, for another safety violations. Both companies were cited for exposing workers to serious hazards.

In August, OSHA placed Case Farms in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, after it assessed $861,500 in penalties following investigations at the company’s Winesburg, Ohio facility.

Case Farms processes 2.8 million chickens per week at seven facilities in North Carolina and Ohio. It has more than 3,200 employees and produces more than 900 million pounds of fresh, partially cooked and frozen-for-export poultry products yearly. Callaghan and Callaghan is located in Greensboro, North Carolina and is contracted to clean some of Case Farms’ facilities.

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