Safety Fines for DE Poultry Plant

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 @ 04:06 PM gHale

Workers cutting chicken fat, bone and cartilage eight hours a day at a Delaware poultry plant are suffering musculoskeletal injuries caused by their jobs, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection found.

Following the inspection at Allen Harim Foods’ Harbeson, DE, plant, OSHA cited the company for exposing employees on the debone line to musculoskeletal disorder hazards. The agency determined that workers performed prolonged, repetitive and forceful tasks without controls in place to prevent injuries.

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“Musculoskeletal injuries caused by these hazards in poultry plants are too common,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “These types of injuries can be prevented by implementing appropriate engineering and administrative controls in the workplace, and when they occur, they must be treated early with appropriate medical care to prevent the illness from progressing.”

In addition to the serious citation for the company’s failure to address the musculoskeletal disorder hazards, OSHA issued serious citations for failing to designate emergency exits properly and to ensure employees received training related to machinery that could unexpectedly start up during service and maintenance.

OSHA cited Allen Harim Foods for nine violations, totaling $38,000.

“The combination of musculoskeletal disorder hazards, lack of proper medical treatment for musculoskeletal disorders and underreporting of injuries at this plant must be addressed by the company,” said Erin Patterson, director of OSHA’s Wilmington office. “Workers should not have to work in pain, especially when these injuries are preventable.”

Headquartered in Seaford, Allen Harim Foods has 1,600 employees, with 960 workers at the Harbeson plant. In addition to the Harbeson facility, the company operates a poultry-processing plant in Cordova, MD; breeding operations in Liberty, NC, and hatcheries and a feed mill in Dagsboro and Seaford.