CLINTON -

Smithfield Packing Co.'s hog processing plant in Clinton has been fined more than $250,000 by the state for safety violations following the death of a worker in February.

The fines were levied in the death of 26-year-old Brandon Christopher Taylor of Clinton. Documents say Taylor died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas as he filled a tanker with liquid sludge,

The N.C. Department of Labor cited Smithfield Packing for 17 violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina. The fines total $251,250.

Inspectors said Smithfield didn't provide respirators to protect workers handling the sludge, nor did it train workers to detect gases or how they could protect themselves from gases that sludge produces.

The company has 15 days from receipt of the notices to challenge the fines.