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Poultry processing facility in contempt over failure to pay OSHA fines


A federal court has found that a poultry processing facility in Pennsylvania ignored U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration sanctions and is in contempt over failure to pay $162,359 in fines over safety violations, the agency announced Friday.

Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp. was cited for “numerous safety hazards, including willful, serious and repeat violations” two separate 2016 safety and health inspections at the Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, poultry processing facility. The citations included violations related to federal lockout/tagout, hearing conservation and personal protective equipment standards.

The company contested the citations with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Following a full hearing on the citations’ merits, an administrative law judge affirmed the initial citations in 2019, a decision that later became the commission’s final order.

Birdsboro Kosher Farms petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for review, and the Secretary of Labor filed a cross-application for enforcement. In 2020, the Court of Appeals denied Birdsboro’s petition for review and granted the secretary’s cross-application for enforcement. The court ordered Birdsboro Kosher Farms to abate any unabated violations from the citations, submit abatement documentation to OSHA and pay the remaining penalties.

Birdsboro ignored the court’s order, failing to pay the penalties or provide abatement certification. A subsequent OSHA inspection revealed violations of some of the same standards underlying the court’s 2020 order and enforcement decree, according to OSHA.

In response, the Secretary of Labor filed a petition on March 18, 2022, for judgment of civil contempt. The court granted the petition and ordered Birdsboro to pay the outstanding penalties of $162,369 plus interest and fees or agree to a payment plan, and certify abatement of the violations, all within 20 days. Failure to comply will subject Birdsboro to sanctions the court deems necessary to compel compliance with its judgment.