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Severed thumb in work accident leads to massive fine for employer

Workplace safety is becoming more and more of an issue in America's industrial industry and rightly so. If you pause to consider the enormity of these industries and the amount of workers it takes to keep production flowing, it makes sense to ensure workers are protected. After all, without workers, these industries would come to a standstill and consumers would suffer great losses.

Back in April, a worker lost a portion of his thumb in a workplace accident at Birdsboro Kosher Farms, a chicken processing plant in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, slammed the plant with a fine of $317,000. Included in the report from OSHA were 10 citations for "serious violations" committed by the plant. These violations include:

-- Failure to secure compressed gas cylinders

-- Uncovered floor holes

-- Inadequate egress signage

-- Deficient hearing conservation programs

-- Failure to provide no-cost sanitary personal protective equipment

-- Failure to provide no-cost specialty foot protection

-- Failure to post permit-required signs

The huge fine OSHA imposed on Birdsboro Kosher Farms surpasses the $236,000 fine Tyson Foods was hit with earlier this year for a similar workplace accident and similar violations. Both cases highlight the dangers associated with the food processing industry and the need for improved safety.

Complicating the Birdsboro case even further, news reports indicate that the company has been cited for "workplace safety violations every year since 2012."

Food processing and production is a necessary industry providing many stable jobs for Pennsylvania workers. However, it is the duty of the industry's operators to ensure workers are safe from reasonable harm. When safety standards are violated, injured workers have workers' compensation and other legal options they can pursue to be made whole once again.

Source: Forward, "Severed Thumb at Kosher Processing Plant Prompts Huge OSHA Fine," Michael Kaminer, Oct. 07, 2016

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