Alabama Department of Labor: Pilgrim’s Pride fatal accident on lift not regulated by state

Updated: Jan. 7, 2020 at 7:15 PM CST
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A fatal accident at a Guntersville chicken processing plant may have a different cause than originally thought.

Monday, 36-year-old Gabriel “Seth” Brutley died and the Guntersville Fire Department said the death occurred as the result of a falling elevator.

The injured man was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead.

Tuesday, the Alabama Department of Labor Communications Director Tara Hutchison said the machine involved in the accident was a mechanical lift.

She said mechanical lifts look similar, but are not regulated by the state. They are used to move items, not people.

She said it is unsafe for anyone to be on a lift.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is leading the investigation, and declined to comment because it it ongoing.

OSHA records show Pilgrim’s Pride’s location in Guntersville has been fined for three violations over the past ten years.

Pilgrim's Pride has paid the following amounts for the following violations:

  • $1,400 for Hazard communications (2015)
  • $5,610 control of hazardous energy (2016)
  • $13,260 process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals (2019)

OSHA declined to give further information on the violations until a formal request is submitted.

The company sent a statement in response to a WAFF question about the fines:

“The three violations in 10 years were resolved in coordination with OSHA to enhance safety at the Guntersville facility. They are completely unrelated to the tragic accident that took place yesterday. Out of respect for the grieving family, we do not have any additional comments at this time.”

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