After two Case Farms employees lost body parts in terrible accidents, and were later fired, the chicken supply company is facing fines totaling more than $1.46 million from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA blamed Case for the incidents. “How many injuries will it take before Case Farms stops exposing workers to dangerous machinery parts?” the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety said in a press release announcing the massive proposed fines.
The first accident took place in March, CantonRep.com reports. A 24-year-old employee lost the fingertips on his right hand when a machine he was cleaning suddenly came to life. Instead of supporting the injured worker, Case suspended him for 10 days, then fired him, according to OSHA.
Just weeks later, a 17-year-old was working for Case as a subcontractor, helping clean its facilities. Similarly to the earlier incident, the teen was hurt while cleaning a machine, except in his case it was his left leg from the knee down that got amputated. He was also fired.
Following an investigation, OSHA says the accidents should not have happened, because Case should have made sure its machines could not operate while being cleaned. The agency hit Case with 16 violations, which it hopes will finally convince the company to prioritize the safety of its employees. Unfortunately, Case has a history of poor workplace safety going back at least 25 years, according to OSHA’s area director in Cleveland.
All jobs carry some level of risk of physical harm, but irresponsible businesses that put profits over safety are much more likely to have incidents like these.