OSHA Fines Jennie-O Turkey After Worker’s Arm Amputated

Filed under: Labor,Legal,News,Safety & Workplace Violence,Working Conditions |

After losing an arm below the shoulder when a turkey-gutting machine accidentally turned on, a worker at Jennie-O plant in Barron, Wis., had to walk down a flight of 25 stairs and 200 feet across the production floor before reaching a co-worker for assistance.

osha fines Jennie-O

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. for 11 safety violations at its Barron facility after the worker’s arm was amputated while the individual was conducting cleaning activities in a confined space.

An OSHA inspection after the July 20, 2011, incident, in which the employee’s arm allegedly became caught in an energized turkey shackle line while the employee was working alone in a confined space.

Based on the violations cited during this latest inspection, OSHA has proposed $318,000 in fines. Prior to this incident involving the amputation, OSHA had inspected the Barron facility four times since 2004, resulting in citations for 12 violations.

“Jennie-O Turkey Store has a legal responsibility to follow established permit-required confined space regulations to ensure that its employees are properly protected from known workplace hazards,” said Mark Hysell, director of OSHA’s Eau Claire, Wis., office. “Failing to ensure protection through appropriate training and adherence to OSHA regulations led to a worker losing an arm.”

Four willful violations found in the PSHA inspection involve not following OSHA’s permit-required confined space regulations in the carbon dioxide tunnel room, including:

• Failing to ensure that workers isolated the carbon dioxide gas supply line and locked out power to the shackle line prior to entering the room to conduct cleaning activities
• Failure to verify that electro-mechanical and atmospheric hazards within the room were eliminated prior to workers entering the space
• Failure to test atmospheric conditions prior to allowing entry and provide an attendant during entries to the room.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Seven serious violations resulting from the incident involve:

• Failure to provide fall protection
• Failure to provide rescue and emergency services equipment
• Failure to develop procedures to summon rescue and emergency services
• Failure to provide confined space entry procedures
• Failure to prepare entry permits for the confined space
• Failure to train employees and supervisors in entry permit procedures
• Failure to ensure that the entry supervisor performed required duties.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

According to OSHA, employees who work in confined spaces face risk of exposure to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment and hazardous atmospheric conditions.

Confinement may also pose entrapment hazards and require employees to work in closer proximity to hazardous machinery components than they would otherwise. Additional information on confined space hazards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html.

Jennie–O Turkey Store operates turkey growing and processing facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as national and international distribution systems. The company employs 1,200 workers at the Barron facility and 5,000 employees corporate-wide.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/JennieOTurkeyStoreIncCitationInspection92562.pdf

List your business in the premium web directory for free This website is listed under Human Resources Directory