A North Carolina-based chicken processing plant that supplies chicken to multiple grocery stores and fast food restaurants is facing $1.4 million in fines after several incidences that took place at a facility in another state. Several violations led one employee, who was a minor, to suffer injuries that led to the amputation of his leg.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the agency who has brought these penalties against Case Farms Processing Inc., pointing to 16 total violations.
The most serious injuries happened while employees of the plant in question were cleaning a machine. One worker, who was just 17 and employed by a sub-contracted cleaning company, had his leg amputated at the knee. Another 24-year-old employee lost his fingertips. These employees were fired after the work accident. The cleaning company was also fined for safety violations and exposing employees to hazards.
This past June, OSHA began investigating the ammonia refrigeration system of the chicken processing plant. If employees are exposed to ammonia, they could develop serious respiratory illnesses. There might also be serious consequences if pressurized ammonia valves are accidentally opened.
There have been previous investigations into this processing plants before this year as well. In the past, this same plant has had incidents that include workers developing foodborne illnesses from poultry products and risky exposure to machinery. The processing company agreed to a settlement in these cases.
This processing plant operates out of North Carolina and has facilities in both North Carolina and Ohio. For anyone who has been injured at work, speaking with an experienced attorney may be beneficial.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Workplace Injuries Lead to $1.4 mil in Fines for Ohio Chicken Processor,” OSHA, Oct. 7, 2015