On OSHA’s First-Ever Citation of Big Poultry for Delaying Medical Care to Injured Workers

OSHA, for the first time ever, cited one of the nation’s largest poultry companies—Pilgrim’s Pride—for routinely delaying adequate medical care to injured workers. Following is a statement from Deborah Berkowitz, senior fellow for worker safety and health with the National Employment Law Project:

“For too long, poultry companies’ treatment of workers has been degrading, dangerous and immoral. With the Department of Labor’s first-ever citation yesterday regarding delayed medical evaluation and treatment for worker injuries on the job, we now know that this treatment is also illegal. The National Employment Law Project commends the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for its investigation and for starting down a path to better the lives of workers within these plants.

“Unfortunately, the issues found at the Pilgrim’s Pride plant are all too common throughout the industry. In a plant in Alabama OSHA found workers visited the ‘health unit’ over 90 times requesting medical treatment, but were denied every time. At another plant in Delaware, OSHA found the company had turned its first aid station into an office to prevent workers from reporting an injury altogether. In these plants, workers are not allowed to seek medical treatment without the companies’ permission—otherwise they are penalized and written up, which can lead to job loss.

“Yesterday’s OSHA citation is an important step forward; this inhumane treatment of workers should concern us all. It’s time the booming poultry industry treat its employees with dignity, instead of exploiting them to boost corporate profits.”


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Deborah Berkowitz

Worker Health and Safety Program Director, National Employment Law Project

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