Needy Airmen to Receive Free 'Turkeys for Christ' from Law-Breaking Evangelical Slaughterhouse
News releases on the company's website tout all the wonderful charitable things this nice Christian company does. Also touted is the company's unbelievable safety record, with press releases like the one from September 2012 announcing that one of its facilities had reached the milestone of "one million man hours without a lost time accident."
How is it that this company is able to receive awards for things like "OSHA recordable rates less than the industry average?" Well, as an investigation of this company by the Charlotte Observer uncovered, it's through the unconscionable way these nice Christians have found to get around having to report things like "lost time accidents." They simply force injured employees to keep working. If the injured employee returns to work the same day, it's not a lost time accident and the company doesn't have to report it.
We're not talking about minor injuries here. One of the cases uncovered by the Charlotte Observer was that of a woman whose arm got caught in a conveyor belt. Her arm was broken and part of one of her fingers was cut off. Now, an injury that serious would certainly put an employee out of work for a while, right? Well, not at House of Raeford. That would make it a "lost time accident" that would have to be reported as such. So, this injured woman was forced to return to work for the next shift. Since she didn't miss a complete shift, her broken arm and amputated finger didn't have to be reported as a "lost time accident." Problem solved.
From the Charlotte Observer's 2008 report on its investigation:
The company has compiled misleading injury reports and has defied regulators as it satisfies a growing appetite for America's most popular meat. And employees say the company has ignored, intimidated or fired workers who were hurt on the job.
House of Raeford officials say they follow the law and strive to protect workers.
But company and government records and interviews with more than 120 current and former employees show:
• House of Raeford's 800-worker plant in West Columbia, S.C., reported no musculoskeletal disorders over four years. Experts say that's inconceivable. MSDs, including carpal tunnel syndrome, are the most common work-related injuries afflicting poultry workers.
• Its Greenville, S.C., plant has boasted of a five-year safety streak with no lost-time accidents. But the plant kept that streak alive by bringing injured employees back to the factory hours after surgery.
• The company has broken the law by failing to record injuries on government safety logs, a top OSHA official says.
• At four of the company's largest Carolinas plants, company first-aid attendants and supervisors have dismissed some workers' requests to see a doctor -- even when they complained of debilitating pain.
Companies have a financial incentive to hide injuries. Ignoring them lowers costs associated with compensating injured workers for medical care and lost wages.
Also, the government rewards companies that report low injury rates by inspecting them less often. And regulators rarely check whether companies are reporting accurately.
But James Mabe, the manager of that 800-worker House of Raeford plant in West Columbia, S.C that reported no musculoskeletal disorders over four years, had an explanation for the apparent immunity of the company's employees from these injuries that are so common for everyone else in the industry -- Hispanics are good with knives! Seriously, this Mabe guy actually told the Observer: "Hispanics are very good with their hands and working with a knife. We've gotten less complaints," and "It's more like a natural movement for them." Yep, it's not because all those immigrants who make up so much of House of Raeford's workforce don't report injuries for fear of losing their jobs or getting deported -- it's that Hispanic people don't get injured because they're just naturally good with knives!