65c67d8addb65e001d28ee6e Case Farms Response Snapshot

Case Farms Aggressively Defends Winesburg Facility Against OSHA Claims

Feb. 9, 2024
Chicken processor disagrees that the plant, which was renovated and expanded just three years ago, does not contain the proper machine guarding, or that the company falls short on worker safety.

In a statement sent to Food Processing, Troutman, N.C.-based chicken processor Case Farms said it disagrees with OSHA’s proposed citations and penalties for the Winesburg, Ohio, processing plant, and it plans “to aggressively defend” its position.

“We disagree with OSHA’s assessment that the new state-of-the-art equipment installed in Winesburg three years ago as part of a $130 million plant improvement and expansion does not contain the proper machine guarding,” the statement said. The company added that training of employees in all aspects of safety occurs on a regular basis through such tactics as safety committee meetings.

Case Farms explained that it had previously partnered with OSHA to improve safety programs, including a Safety and Health Management System. OSHA management personnel visited the facility to see the significant changes and improvements made, Case Farms said. It added that it invested more than $3 million in safety-related capital improvements and repairs, as well as more than $400,000 on an outside safety consulting firm (which led to additional programs and equipment being implemented).

Case Farms then dug into the Winesburg plant’s current safety record and data.

“… our Winesburg poultry complex has currently reached over 3.2 million man-hours worked or 720 days without a lost time accident. … Our Winesburg complex total recordable incidence rate and DART (days away restricted or transferred) rate has improved for the past four years …,” the statement said. Case Farms included a table with safety data for the facility (which is shown below).

Finally, Case Farms said its current injury rates are 87% below the industry average. And, although it has shown improvement over the years, the company said it will continue to invest in continuous improvements to the safety culture to provide the safest work environment in the industry.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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