The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, the nation’s largest chicken producer, for failur to use proper safety procedures that resulted in the release of 79 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. The release of the chemical on Sept. 28, 2015 endangered workers at the plant because it can burn skin and cause death if inhaled.
“Anhydrous ammonia can have devastating and lethal effects,” said Jack Rector, OSHA’s area director in Fort Worth. “Had Pilgrim’s had the right processes in place, this ammonia release may have been prevented. We will continue to monitor the company’s progress as they make much-needed improvements to equipment, procedures and training to keep their workers safe.”
OSHA issued the citation after investigators inspected the plant following the leak and discovered also found the company’s inspections and equipment testing were not completed as scheduled or documented as required. The agency cited Pilgrim’s for the same or similar violations at its plants in in Nacogdoches in February 2015 and in De Queen, Arkansas, in July 2013.