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A California-based food company stands accused of 22 safety and health violations at its meat processing plant, and faces penalties of up to $118,700, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

OSHA began an inspection on Sept. 29 at Bridgford Foods Corp.’s Chicago plant as part of the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates follow-up inspections of employers that endanger workers by through repeat violations.

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Bridgford Foods fell into the program following a July 2010 inspection for exposing workers to energized equipment and failing to implement and provide training on lockout and tagout procedures.

Three repeat health violations involved failing to mark chemical containers with contents and hazardous warning labels, and not providing an emergency eyewash station for employees working with corrosive chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite and anhydrous ammonia. Another repeat violation involved an obstructed emergency exit. OSHA cited similar violations in 2008 and 2010.

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Other serious safety violations included a lack of guardrails on open pits, no hoist way enclosure on an elevator shaft, a lack of machine guarding, no handrails on staircases and a lack of emergency illumination, as well as electrical violations such as not enclosing live electrical equipment, missing electrical ground pins, not inspecting power cords of damaged equipment, and not covering unused circuit breakers.

Bridgford Foods also operates two facilities in Dallas and one in Statesville, NC.

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