OSHA cites Cargill for hazards at Dodge City beef plant

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Cargill Meat Solution for two repeat and 23 serious violations at its Dodge City beef slaughter plant.

OSHA has proposed fines of $176,400. Inspectors visited the plant in November under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on employers with higher-than-average occupational injury and illness rates.

"Many hazards at this facility existed for a long period of time, and there is just no excuse for exposing workers to them," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employees."

OSHA said the two repeat violations were for a lack of machinery anchorage and improperly used flexible cords. Similar citations were issued in 2007 and 2009.

The 23 serious violations are for hazards associated with process safety management, fall protection, access and egress, lockout/tagout of energy sources, material storage, personal protective equipment, machine guarding, electrical deficiencies, compressed gas cylinders and hazard communication. A serious violation is one with a substantial probability of death or serious injury.

"We take these allegations very seriously and invest a substantial amount of resources in workplace and facility safety, training, processes and infrastructure," said Cargill spokesman Mike Martin. "We will expeditiously address these concerns with OSHA. Employee safety is a top priority at Cargill."

Cargill Meat Solutions has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to fix the problems, request a conference with OSHA's area director in Wichita, or contest the findings.