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OSHA fines Gainesville poultry plant for safety hazards
Coleman committed 11 alleged safety violations, faces $187K penalty
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A Gainesville poultry processor faces $187,100 in fines after a federal investigation turned up 11 alleged safety violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited KD Acquisition I LLC, doing business as Coleman Natural Foods, according to a government news release issued Tuesday.

Coleman, based in Golden, Colo., does business in Gainesville as Kings Delight. Officials from the company couldn’t be reached for comment.

OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office inspected the KD4 processing plant on Candler Road in Gainesville after receiving a complaint in September about safety hazards.

Two “repeat” violations, each carrying a $70,000 fine, include allowing untrained workers to assist with and perform conveyor belt adjustments, and operating the conveyor belt system without machine guards that would protect workers from rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Similar violations were cited at Coleman’s KD5 plant in Braselton in 2007, the news release states.

Eight “serious” violations, with penalties of $47,100, involve failing to provide adequate safety protection to workers exposed to anhydrous ammonia, train workers handling hazardous materials, provide written lockout/tagout procedures to shut down the energy sources of equipment, conduct an annual inspection of procedures to verify accuracy and perform complete lockout/tagout procedures when servicing or maintaining equipment.

Workers also were exposed to electrical hazards stemming from damaged wiring on a rooftop hoist, an electrical panel cabinet that required employees to work near energized parts when resetting electrical relays and electrical receptacles located in wet and damp locations.

Finally, stairs are located close to an unprotected roof edge, OSHA said.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

KD Acquisition also has been cited for not posting signs on air-handling units to indicate that they were permit-required confined spaces.

This violation does not carry a fine and is considered “other-than-serious,” which means that it has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent OSHA Review Commission.

In January, OSHA again cited the Braselton plant, for eight violations with $142,150 in proposed fines.

“KD Acquisition has a history of endangering its workers by exposing them to serious safety and health hazards that must be corrected before a worker is seriously injured,” said William Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East office.

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