An Allen Harim Foods poultry plant in Harbeson, Delaware, is being cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for allegedly exposing employees on the deboning line to musculoskeletal disorder hazards. The agency determined that workers performed prolonged, repetitive and forceful tasks without controls in place to prevent injuries.
"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 citation for the company's failure to address the musculoskeletal disorder hazards, OSHA issued 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 for a total of nine violations. Proposed penalties total $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."
Allen Harim has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings.