Lone Jack Cattle Processor Facing $500,000 In OSHA Fines
A Lone Jack cattle processor is facing over $500,000 in fines after investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleged that the processor exposed workers to hazardous levels of carbon dioxide. This according to a U.S. Department of Labor News Release from February 6, 2023.
A federal workplace safety investigation at Republic Food's Lone Jack cattle processing plant found the dry ice used to keep meat at safe temperatures exposed employees to carbon dioxide levels ranging from 7,100 to 10,000 parts per million, exceeding the OSHA permissible exposure standard of 5,000 parts per million.
OSHA investigators found the problem during measurements taken in September 2022, and OSHA says it's the same problem they cited the company for back in November 2020. The US Department of Labor News Release says the Lone Jack plant has now been cited by inspectors for endangering workers seven times since March 2020.
The U.S. Department of Labor release quotes OSHA Area Director Karen Lorek in Kansas City, "Exposing workers to high levels of carbon dioxide can cause serious illnesses and even death. Republic Foods failed to increase employee monitoring or change engineering controls to reduce the exposure.”
The U.S. Department of Labor release says, "Excessive exposure to carbon dioxide can cause headache, dizziness, breathing difficulty, tremors, confusion, and potentially, death. Long-term health effects may surface months or years later."
OSHA has issued Republic Foods citations for 35 violations in five previous inspections from its 2020 opening through May 2022. An additional inspection currently remains open.
Republic Foods has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.