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Secretary of Labor v. Gold Kist

Case Number

OSHRC Docket No. 06-1449

An Alabama poultry processing plant faced up to $143,000 in fines as the result of a federal complaint filed by the SPLC alleging the company subjected workers to dangerous working conditions.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Gold Kist Inc.’s Russellville, Ala., plant for 21 hazardous conditions "likely to cause death or serious bodily injury," two repeat violations and a record-keeping violation. Atlanta-based Gold Kist was the country’s third largest chicken processor and marketer, employing more than 16,000 people at the time.

Despite OSHA’s Aug. 14, 2006, order to correct serious and repeat violations at the Gold Kist poultry processing facility in Russellville, the company refused to accept responsibility. On Nov. 3, 2006, Gold Kist filed papers with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission denying all violations of federal health and safety law. The company blamed any unsafe conditions on worker misconduct.

Gold Kist reached a final settlement agreement with OSHA in January 2007 that required the company to pay more than $80,000 in fines. In addition, Gold Kist was required to conduct regular safety inspections of the Russellville facility, adopt safety programs used at other Gold Kist plants and provide training for workers and managers. To ensure compliance, Gold Kist was required to provide quarterly reports and submit to an annual review by OSHA.