Nebraska Beef Processor Cited Nearly $183,000 for OSHA Violations

An employee at a packing plant. ( U.S. Department of Agriculture )

A beef processing plant in Nebraska has been fined for 16 violations that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) deems as “serious safety violations.”

In a press release on Jan. 18, OSHA announced that it had cited Noah’s Ark Processors LLC in Hastings, Nebraska, after being cited for 16 safety violations. OSHA has fined the beef processor $182,926.

Fines and safety citations were issued after an employee at the processing plant suffered severe burns caused by exposure to anhydrous ammonia, a gas used as an industrial refrigerant.

The citations were part of OSHA’s process safety management (PSM) program which found deficiencies in how the plant operated. The violations included failing to guard roof openings, and electrical safety and lockout/tagout violations. Also, the PSM standard requires employers to properly manage hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals.

“When employers fail to properly document procedures and control highly hazardous chemicals, there is the potential for unintentional releases that can result in serious and fatal injuries,” says OSHA Omaha Area Director Jeff Funke. “By implementing and sustaining workplace safety and health programs, employers can monitor their processes to ensure safeguards are in place to protect workers.”

OSHA says the beef processor has 15 business days to comply with the penalties and citations. During that time the business can request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.