OSHA: Spate of serious injuries at chicken processing plant ‘preventable’
In less than 60 days, three employee injuries - including one worker who suffered the amputation of three fingers - brought federal inspectors to West Virginia poultry processing facilities operated by Pilgrim's Pride Corp., one of the world's largest chicken producers.
OSHA inspections in April, May and June 2015 found that preventable safety violations caused the workers' injuries at Pilgrim's facilities on 214 S. Main St. and 129 Potomac Ave. in Moorefield. As a result, the agency cited the company on September 11 for one repeat and three serious violations. Proposed fines total $46,825.
On April 28, 2015, an employee contacted an unguarded machine shaft while operating a conveyer system. Pulled around the shaft, the worker suffered a fractured arm. Two weeks later, on May 12, an employee fell on a concrete floor while refilling a machine with an inadequate step for employee access. A third worker had three fingers amputated when they caught in a blender while removing poultry from the machine on June 15.
"Amputations have lasting professional and personal consequences - and these injuries were needless and preventable," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office. "Pilgrim's Pride must improve its injury and illness prevention program to identify and correct hazards before more worker injuries occur."
Headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, Pilgrim's Pride employs 35,000 workers in 12 U.S. states, Mexico and Puerto Rico. One of the world's largest chicken producers, the company sells fresh, prepared and frozen poultry under the Pilgrim's, Country Pride, Pierce, Gold Kist and Savoro brands in the U.S., Mexico, Asia and the Middle East to retailers, food-service distributors and restaurants.