Processing Magazine

Smithfield workers file complaint with U.S. Labor Department

June 19, 2007
Sixteen employees of the world''s largest hog slaughterhouse have filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Department about conditions in the livestock department at Smithfield Packing Co., the Associated Press reports. The complaint was filed Monday with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration after inspectors from the state OSHA division found that the complaints about drinking water and broken equipment at the plant were unfounded. The workers said they didn''t have adequate access to sanitary drinking water. They also said about a fourth of the some 200 gates in the livestock area were broken and could cause injury The company said last week that state inspectors said the complaints were unfounded. In the complaint filed this week with federal inspectors, the employees said some hazards remain uncorrected. About 5,500 people work at the plant, where up to 32,000 hogs are slaughtered each day. The plant is located in Tar Heel, a tiny town about 80 miles south of Raleigh.