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OSHA Investigates Severe Injury at Meat Processing Plant

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations to FPL Food LLC, Augusta, GA, on February 26 for 15 serious safety violations.

OSHA initiated an investigation after learning a worker was hospitalized on December 3, 2015. A hydraulic saw lacerated the abdomen of a 36-year-old saw operator as he cut meat. The worker was severely injured. OSHA discovered that the saw's safety cut-off switches were not functioning properly.

The agency cited FPL Food LLC for: exposing workers to falls on platforms without rails; electric shock from improper wiring; and amputations from unguarded cutting blades. Additionally, the employer did not provide a fully functional eyewash station for workers handling leaking batteries. The company also failed to train workers on the specific procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.

"The results of this investigation clearly indicate that FPL Food's safety and health management plan is ineffective and not being enforced," said William Fulcher, OSHA's area director in the Atlanta-East Office. "Management must make worker safety its top priority and be engaged in enforcing it."

OSHA proposed penalties totaling $67,270.

FPL Food is a fresh meat processor that prepares, packs, and ships beef products to food service and retail customers. The company employs nearly 400 workers in Augusta. The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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