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employee 58 articles

Oregon plant where worker fell into meat grinder has history of safety violations

Federal and Oregon state authorities are investigating the horrific death of a worker who fell into a running blender at a meat processing plant Friday, April 26, near Portland. The worker, identified by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as Hugo Avalos-Chanon, 41, of Southeast Portland worked for DCS Sanitation Management, a cleaning company contracted by Interstate Meat Distributors to clean industrial equipment at the meat processing facility. According to the Oregonian, paramedics and sheriff’s deputies received a call around 11:45 p.m. Friday, after Mr. Avalos-Chanon fell in the blender and became entangled in it. The machine was equipped with an emergency ... Read More

Is lack of corporate safety amounting to a ‘terror’ all its own?

If lawmaking proponents of deregulation have their way, Americans won’t have to worry about being harmed by random foreign terrorists so much as they will by the danger and catastrophe presented by many of our own factories, oil rigs, mines, and other places of work. That may sound like an exaggeration, a complete overreach. But is it? Think of all the time and resources law enforcement and intelligence devoted to catching the two Boston bombers who detonated bombs near the finish line of the marathon. Think about all the media attention lavished on that manhunt. All that time, money, and ... Read More

Toxic chemical use in chicken plants set to rise, posing serious health risks to workers, public

With U.S. chicken consumption rising steadily, poultry processing plants nationwide are poised to implement changes that will injure and sicken many workers. Instead of meeting rising demand by expanding facilities and hiring additional workers, the poultry processing industry is poised to increase maximum line speeds and rely more heavily on the use of highly toxic chemicals to treat contaminated chicken. A number of reports have been published explaining the dangers of increasing the already-maximized line speeds in chicken plants, which will boost the number of chickens line workers must inspect from 140 per minute to 175 per minute. Regulations that ... Read More

Rescuers pull out two workers buried by trench cave-in

HOPE HULL, ALA–Two excavation workers were trapped several feet underground when the walls of a trench they were constructing caved in Wednesday afternoon. Heavy Rescue 75 personnel (Lieutenant Donald Pickens, Sergeant Tommy Burton, Firefighter Eric S. Williams and Firefighter Gregory Lowery), Engine Company 3(Lieutenant Herman Dudley, Sergeant Johnathan M. Brown, Firefighter Michael White, and Firefighter Devon Jones), and Truck Company 45 (Lieutenant Adrian Thrasher, Sergeant Robert Hill and Firefighter Joshua Clemons) rescued two trapped workers from a cave in. Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Gordon Senior was the Incident Commander of the operation. Source: Montgomery Fire/Rescue”] According to WSFA News, the ... Read More

Absence of safety culture in poultry industry demonstrated by recent worker deaths

Alabama and several other southern states have a thriving chicken industry that represents a healthy percentage of the annual GDP, especially in the Deep South from Georgia to Louisiana where chicken production rockets year after year. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past, this unrestrained growth is accompanied by a corporate push to loosen the rules and regulations that protect the environment and keep factory workers relatively safe and healthy, as more recent worker fatalities demonstrate. In Mississippi, Southern Hens Inc., a poultry processor with facilities in Moselle, was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) for ... Read More

Boss’s violent behavior reported by whistleblower warrants OSHA investigation and lawsuit

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA –The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division, against Duane Thomas Marine Construction LLC and its owner Duane Thomas for firing an employee who reported workplace violence. The lawsuit is the result of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation prompted by a complaint from the employee who worked at the company’s marine dock installation services site on Marco Island, Florida. The employee alleged that, on numerous occasions between December 2009 and February 2011, Mr. Thomas behaved violently at the work ... Read More

Temp worker’s death reveals numerous safety violations at Florida bottling plant

JACKSONVILLE, FLA—A bottling facility in Jacksonville has been cited with numerous federal safety violations following the death of a 21-year-old temporary worker who was killed on his first day on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that the death is representative of a disturbing trend of temporary and untrained workers being killed in the workplace shortly after starting a new job. According to OSHA, Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis was crushed to death by a palletizer machine at the Bacardi Bottling Corporation’s Jacksonville plant in August 2012. The agency noted that the plant relies on Remedy Intelligent ... Read More

Poultry industry presents a growing threat to workers and consumers

When “Juan,” a worker at an Alabama poultry plant fell while hoisting an 80-pound box of chicken, his supervisors ordered him to get back to work. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “X-rays later showed two fractured vertebrae. He was fired, and the employer has not paid any of his medical bills.” Juan is just one example among thousands in Alabama’s giant poultry industry, where workers are subjected to brutal, dangerous working conditions that pose a constant risk of injury and illness, all for the sake of providing American dinner tables with plentiful, cheap chicken. According to the ... Read More

Chemical spill triggers evacuation of Birmingham aluminum plant

Four workers were treated for injuries after a chemical spill occurred inside a Birmingham aluminum plant Monday morning. Bermco Aluminum, a maker of secondary aluminum alloys, evacuated its building on 33rd Street North along the Messer Airport Highway while the spill was contained and cleaned up, a Birmingham Fire Department spokesperson told AL.com. A company official said that a leak of liquid chlorine occurred as a vendor was making a weekly delivery of the chemical, which is used in the plant for cleaning purposes, according to AL.com. The spill was reported about 9:40 a.m. The company sounded an alarm, and ... Read More

Michigan pushes to protect utility workers from unyielding traffic

On June 22, a journeyman line worker for Consumers Energy in Michigan was responding to a report of a downed power line when he was struck and killed by a motorist. The driver allegedly made no effort to slow down or give leeway when driving past the electrical worker. The incident that killed the worker, Jeffrey Creel, a husband and father of four children, wasn’t an isolated one. Every day, motorists speed past utility workers, denying them the respect and safety that police, firefighters, ambulance personnel, and construction workers receive when working on or near the road. But Mr. Creel’s death ignited ... Read More