USA - Two meat workers burnt with tallow

26 Oct 2010

Two workers suffered burns Wednesday at Cargill’s Wyalusing, Pa., facility, the company’s spokesman confirmed in an e-mailed statement to Meatingplace.

Mike Martin said the workers were air-lifted to a regional burn center after a discharge of hot tallow occurred around noon in the rendering portion of the beef plant. The company was awaiting word from the burn center on the employees’ conditions.

The men are maintenance workers – one with eight years experience and the other with nine -- who were repairing a pump in the tallow rendering plant, Martin said.

Both were treated at the scene by staff nurses and local paramedics who arrived on scene, then they were flown by helicopter to the burn center for further treatment, he said.

“The burns were serious, but I do not have information regarding the severity or current condition of the two employees,” Martin said.

The cause of the discharge is under investigation.

“This is an unfortunate incident and our priorities are focused on the injured employees, as well as determining what happened so that we can ensure it does not occur again,” Martin said. “Employee safety is one of our top priorities; we invest considerable resources in safety; our employees take a great deal of pride in their safety records; and we take incidents such as this very seriously.”

Until Tuesday, Martin noted, the Wyalusing plant had operated more than 3 million man hours without a lost-day injury and has OSHA Voluntary Protection Program status. The program involves providing employee safety equipment and training exceeding OSHA standards, as well as regular audits by the agency to retain such status.