A Nebraska meatpacking plant is accused of a dozen major safety violations and is facing over a quarter million dollars in fines, all following a “serious hand injury” to one of its workers.

Nebraska Beef has 15 days to appeal or pay $274,000 for “two willful and 11 serious violations,” according to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA tells us that in June a forklift operator’s fingertip at the South Omaha plant got caught in part of the vehicle resulting in a “medically necessitated amputation.”

After the accident, which was reported by the company, an OSHA investigation uncovered a variety of safety issues including electrical problems that “exposed workers to live electrical parts.”

“An employee of Nebraska Beef Ltd. suffered a permanent injury because the company knowingly ignored safety measures that are meant to prevent this very type of incident,” explained OSHA Area Director Matthew Thurlby. “The company must reassess its safety training and procedures immediately to keep other employees from suffering needless injuries.”

Specifically, OSHA found the following deficiencies in its investigation:

-       Failure to isolate energy during service and maintenance of dock levelers.

-       Unsafe working surfaces.

-       Fall hazards on platforms and ladders.

-       No readily available eye wash and drenching facility.

-       Electrical hazards.

-       Lack of kits to handle chemical spills.

-       Improperly trained forklift operators.

  • Unsafe battery maintenance. 

“Nebraska’s meat-packing industry has a higher-than-average injury rate,” Thurlby added.