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OSHA investigating Pilgrim’s Pride fatality

By Joe Whitworth+

07-Aug-2014
Last updated on 07-Aug-2014 at 12:10 GMT

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating a fatality at a Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Texas this week.

The Houston North Area Office is looking at the incident in Nacogdoches on Monday which led to the death of Bobby Joe Beall.

Pilgrim's claims to be the second-largest chicken producer in the world, with operations in the US, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

OSHA investigation

The maintenance employee was changing out a pump and contacted an energized wire and was electrocuted, OSHA told FoodQualityNews.com.

Although it is difficult to say how long an investigation could take, by law OSHA has six months to complete its investigation,” said an OSHA spokeswoman.

“If violations of the OSHA standards are found then OSHA will issue citations and those citations normally accompany a monetary penalty.”

Pilgirm’s statement

In a statement the firm said it was saddened to report the news and is working with officials.

“Pilgrim’s is saddened to report the death of Bobby Beall, age 50, on Monday, August 4, due to an incident at the processing facility in Nacogdoches, Texas.

“The loss of a team member is never acceptable.  We are cooperating with local officials and our partners at OSHA to determine the cause of this incident.

“We are working with the family to meet their immediate needs and have made a chaplain available to provide support and assistance to the family and to our fellow team members.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Beall family during this difficult time. Out of respect for the family, we will not provide further comment at this time.”

Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, also known as Pilgrim's, is a US company, with the majority owned by the Brazilian food firm JBS.

The firm has the capacity to process more than 36 million birds per week for more than 9.5 billion pounds of live chicken annually.

Previous incident

In a past case, Pilgrim’s Pride was cited with $58,755 in proposed penalties after a worker fatality and eight violations at a plant in Georgia last year.

The worker died after becoming caught in an unguarded hopper while attempting to remove a piece of cardboard at the company's facility in Canton.