More safety and health inspectors needed: Unions
Union representatives in the US say that recent
alleged occupational safety and health violations by poultry plants in the US
indicate that there is a widespread problem in the
The Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) needs to employ more inspectors and make more
regular inspections, according to the unions. The violations are reportedly
especially problematic in plants with a high number of migrant workers.
Last month, one Alabama company was cited for 21 serious safety violations,
two of which were repeat violations and one of which was a recordkeeping
violation. Among the violations at the plant were blocked exits, unsafe floors,
inadequate personal protective equipment, inadequate machine guarding and more.
The total cost of the fines is $143,000.
The citations were the result of a federal complaint lodged by
the Southern Poverty Law
Center and Southern
Migrant Legal Services (SMLS), which provide
legal assistance to immigrant and migrant workers.
with the Center's Immigrant Justice Project praised OSHA for their citations in
the case. But Gunter said the agency does not have nearly enough staff to
adequately enforce its poultry regulations.
heavily on employee complaints to target plants for inspection, but when a plant
employs large numbers of immigrant workers who may not speak English, have legal
status or even know how OSHA can help them, that approach becomes ineffective,
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