Poultry Processor Inspected After Worker Suffers Amputation

A Delaware poultry processor faces nearly $40,000 in penalties after an employee lost a finger during packaging machine operation.

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A Delaware poultry processor faces nearly $40,000 in penalties after an employee lost a finger during packaging machine operation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began investigating Mountaire Farms Inc. on June 3 after the company reported that a worker suffered a finger amputation while operating a packaging machine.

Inspectors found serious violations related to electrical and process safety management hazards as well as deficiencies with the procedures meant to prevent accidental machine start-up or movement. This contributed to the amputation. Inspectors also found that employees were exposed to musculoskeletal stressors from performing tasks that “require repetitive, forceful motion” — often in awkward positions — for extended periods of time.

"The combination of musculoskeletal stressors and inappropriate medical management practices at the Selbyville processing facility is harming workers, who are exposed to completely preventable injuries," said Erin Patterson, area director of OSHA's Wilmington office. "Musculoskeletal stressors remain prevalent in the poultry industry and employers must abate those hazards to protect the safety and health of their employees."

OSHA issued a hazard alert letter for medical management practices at the Selbyville, DE facility that prevent appropriate standards of care, increase the likelihood of workers developing serious musculoskeletal disorders, restrict referrals to physicians and discourage employees from reporting symptoms and injuries.

Another hazard alert letter warned the company about storage of incompatible chemicals.

OSHA has proposed $39,762 in penalties.

The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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