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OSHA Issues Citations, Fine Against Cargill Poultry-Processing Plant

October 24, 1989

ATLANTA (AP) _ A federal agency on Monday announced citations against Cargill Inc.’s Buena Vista, Ga., poultry-processing plant, alleging 113 willful violations of federal safety and health standards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also proposed a $242,000 fine against Cargill over the alleged violations.

Gerard Scannell, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor, said the plant did not implement controls to reduce cumulative trauma disorders in its workers. The disorders, known as CDTs, include carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.

Greg Lauser, a spokesman at Minneapolis, Minn.,-based Cargill, said the company plans to contest the citations and fine.

″At this time OSHA has not discussed the detailed factual findings of its investigation,″ he said, reading from a statement. ″Therefore, the company will contest the proposed citation and fine so it can review OSHA’s findings.″

CDTs result from constant repetition of awkward or forced hand and arm action and result in aching wrists and numb fingers and hands. In some cases, permanent damage can be caused to tendons, nerves and muscles.

OSHA records indicate 90 percent of the Buena Vista plant’s 500 employees work at tasks that expose them to risk from CDTs.

″We believe the pervasiveness of CDT in the plant, affecting upwards of an estimated two-thirds of Cargill employees, and the lack of a concerted effort by the company to implement corrective actions justify the multi-instance penalties,″ Scannell said.

OSHA found 111 CDT violations and cited the plant for not having an effective program to battle CDTs and for failing to provide employees’ medical records.

Lauser said the company ″has made serious good-faith efforts to address CDT problems,″ including hiring medical experts and providing job rotations.