OSHA Cites Pork Processing Plant for 43 Safety Violations

The plant faces more than $500k in fines.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

June 21, 2024

2 Min Read
Pork processing plant cited for 43 worker safety violations
The processing plant has been fined several times in the last 5 years.teptong/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a pork processing facility for 43 safety violations after federal inspections were recently conducted, which led to proposed penalties of over $500,000.

This isn't the first safety violation for J.H. Routh Packing Co. of Sandusky, OH. The company has a record going back at least to 2019 of safety violations and attached fines.

OSHA inspected the processing facility in December 2023 and January 2024 after being notified by "a local government agency" that two workers were medically treated after being exposed to ammonia gas during maintenance of their refrigeration system.

OSHA cited the company with the following violations:

  • Lack of fall protection

  • Noise exposure

  • Inadequate permit-required confined space procedures

  • Lack of an emergency eyewash/shower

  • Lockout/tagout procedures for machines

  • No hazard communication plans

  • Electrical safety related work practices

  • Failure to mark all exits

  • Unsafe electrical equipment and installations

  • Lack of lockout devices

  • Lack of personal protective equipment

  • Unsafe walking working surfaces and stairways

“Every day, people employed in food manufacturing operations face serious safety and health hazards. Unsafe exposure to ammonia in refrigeration can irritate the respiratory tract, eyes, and nasal passages. At high levels, ammonia exposure may even be fatal,” said OSHA Area Director Todd Jensen. “J.H. Routh Packing Co. and other Ohio food industry employers must review their procedures to continually protect workers from preventable injuries and allow them to end their work shifts safely.”

The company faces a total of $528,441 in penalties based on the above violations. OSHA issued a total of 40 "serious violations" and also cited J.H. Routh for a repeat violation "for exposing employees to amputation and other serious hazards due to inadequate point-of-operation guarding on a meat saw."

J.H. Routh Packing Co., also known as HK Cooperative Inc., was previously cited for violations in 2019 for Point(s) of operation of machinery that were not guarded to prevent employee(s) from having any part of their body in the danger zone(s) during operating cycles and fine $13,260. In November 2023, the processing company was cited again for electrical hazards, machine guarding and improperly maintained tools. Again this March J.H. Routh Packing was cited for "failing to protect employees from bloodborne pathogens" and fined $13,828.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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