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Worker Injuries at Poultry Plant Lead to $88K in OSHA Fines

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Morton, MS – Koch Foods of Mississippi LLC has been issued nine serious safety violations at its Morton (MS) chicken processing plant. OSHA has proposed fines totaling $88,632.

Investigation of the Koch facility was triggered by two worker injuries in the spring of 2016. In March, a worker’s right finger was lacerated after his glove got caught in a conveyor. In April, a gizzard chiller operator broke two fingers on her right hand while attempting to clear a jam inside the gizzard chiller. The worker’s hand made contact with a rotating shaft while the machine was energized and operating.

Safety violations included unguarded moving parts, missing drain covers, missing stairway rails and chemicals leaking into an electrical outlet. The Morton (MS) Koch plant received similar OSHA violations in 2010 and 2012.poultry worker injuries

Serious citations were issued for Koch Food’s failure to ensure proper procedures were followed to prevent machinery from starting-up during maintenance or servicing and provide machine guarding on equipment. These procedures are known in the industry as Lockout/Tagout.

Approximately 3 million workers are employed in the US to service equipment. These employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout procedures are not properly implemented. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. In a study conducted by the United Auto Workers (UAW), 20% of the fatalities (83 of 414) that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout procedures.

Having equipment specific lockout procedures written for each piece of equipment is required by OSHA, and can be the most daunting part of implementing a lockout/tagout program in a plant or facility. The lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment. Having a lockout program protects workers by preventing the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, as well as preventing the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO lockout procedure development program is designed to provide high quality procedures that are easy to follow.

Martin Technical’s Rapid LOTO Lockout Program is the most advanced and comprehensive program in the industry. We leverage our experience in maintenance and safety with today’s technologies to provide a robust system designed for ease of implementation and maximum worker comprehension.

Koch Foods of Mississippi is a subsidiary of Koch Foods Inc., which is a leading poultry processor with facilities in AL, GA, OH, and TN and headquartered in Park Ridge, IL.

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