Georgia Appeals Court Supports OSHA on Injury Citation


The U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta denied a petition by Packers Sanitation Services, a cleaning contractor in a case involving injury of a worker in a broiler processing plant.  An employee of the company contracted to perform cleaning services was injured in the course of duties.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] cited the contractor for two violations involving safe walking-working space and inadequate guards on machinery.

The decision in this case has relevance to egg packing operations:- 

  • Equipment should be locked-out before cleaning commences. 
  • Workers should be appropriately trained and supervised in their cleaning activities.
  •  Equipment should never be operated without protective covers. 
  • Appropriate personal protective gear must be issued and worn by cleaners including bump caps. 
  • Supervisors and managers should consistently review equipment and operations to preempt accidents. 
  • Worker committees are often helpful in maintaining awareness of safety and identifying defects and hazards that are frequently evident to those performing cleaning tasks. 
  • Any injury or accident must be documented in conformity with OSHA requirements.

The OSHA will investigate injuries resulting in referral to medical facilities. Irrespective of whether a victim of an accident involved in cleaning is employed by the company or a contractor negative publicity could accrue to the egg-packer and lawsuits will be an inevitable consequence of an incident.