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Owner of slaughterhouse fined over workplace safety violations

This country is described as the land of opportunity for immigrants searching for a better way of life. In the majority of cases, families have worked to make those dreams a reality and have improved the economy of many Missouri cities and towns where they settled. Unfortunately, there have been accounts of employers ignoring workplace safety regulations in order to cut operating costs -- which endangers the lives of those whom they employ.

Recently, a state branch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an inspection of a slaughterhouse shortly after federal immigration agencies conducted a raid of the same business. After thoroughly reviewing the plant, inspectors discovered approximately 27 violations related to worker safety -- 23 of which are serious. The business was assessed fines in excess of $41,000 for violating federal safety standards.

This particular owner is also facing serious fines and federal charges for allegedly knowingly hiring workers who lacked official documentation. Doing so purportedly allowed him to hire these workers for considerably less than the going rate, as well as ignoring overtime pay regulations. Workers were exposed to hazardous working conditions, were not properly trained in handling chemicals, lacked hearing safeguards and were denied proper first aid supplies.

Other conditions for which the company was fined included failure to provide adequate safety training and poor sanitation. In addition, the company failed to maintain an official log of injuries and did not provide a separate restroom facility for female employees. Advocates for immigrants claim that some employers ignore workplace safety rules because workers are reluctant to report unsafe conditions. It is hoped that these types of inspections will improve the well-being of all employees. Any Missouri resident who has suffered an injury or illness due to their working environment is entitled to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney in filing a claim for maximum benefits from the state's workers' compensation program. 

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