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J.H. Routh Packing Faces More Than $528k in Penalties for 43 Worker Safety Violations

June 20, 2024
Dept. of Labor finds dozens of serious OSHA violations at HK Cooperative Inc., dba J.H. Routh Packing Co., in Sandusky, Ohio.

HK Cooperative Inc., doing business as J.H. Routh Packing Co., in Sandusky, Ohio, faces more than $528,000 in fines levied by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in response to 43 worker safety violations found by the administration in December 2023 and January 2024.

The violations at the pork processing plant were uncovered after the Dept. of Labor was notified that two workers suffered exposure to ammonia gas during maintenance of a refrigeration system, the release from the DOL said. OSHA opened two investigations and found 40 serious violations and two other-than-serious violations and one repeat violation for inadequate point-of-operation guarding on a meat saw.

Other serious violations at the facility revolved around lockout/tagout procedures, electrical safety-related work practices, lack of personal protective equipment, lack of lockout devices and other various issues.

HK Cooperative has been found in violation of OSHA standards in the near past. It is contesting a $13,828 penalty for a serious violation levied against it in March 2024 for failing to protect employees from bloodborne pathogens. In November 2023, violations were issued for electrical hazards, machine guarding and for improperly maintained tools.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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