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Meat Processing Plant Hit With Safety Citations

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The owners of a Chicago meat processing plant are being fined more than $200,000, after the plant was slapped with 10 safety citations.

Bridgford Foods Processing Corporation’s facility in Chicago was issued 10 citations last Tuesday, including failing to implement and provide training for workers on electrical safety training, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The violations were discovered during a July 2010 inspection and resulted in $212,000 of proposed fines.

Bridgford Foods Processing has been inspected three times by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration since Nov. 2007, which have resulted in 29 health and safety citations, the release said.

Included in the proposed penalties was a fine for $70,000 for a willful citation stemming from allowing workers to remove a shovel stuck in mechanical equipment without following safety procedures, according to the release. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The company was also issued two serious citations for failing to perform periodic energy control inspections and to maintain unobstructed exit routes, the release said. Bridgford Foods Processing was issued six repeat citations, carrying proposed fines of $135,000 for having locked exit doors, failing to provide lockout/tagout or electrical safety training and other violations.

“By failing to train employees and enforce lockout/tagout procedures, Bridgford Foods placed employees in danger of serious injury from equipment that was not properly de-energized,” OHSA area director Gary Anderson said in the release.

Bridgford Foods Processing is headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., and also has two factories in Dallas and one in Statesville, N.C., the Chicago Tribune reported.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA officials or contest the findings, the release said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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