Fairmont, WV – The owner of a beef jerky plant is being sued by the federal government for firing an employee who tried to call 911 when her co-worker severed a thumb.
A lawsuit was filed against John M Bachman, who owned the Lone Star Western Beef plant, by the US Labor Department on Thursday.
Bachman’s employee, Chris Crane, was operating a band saw to cut beef at the plant when he severed part of his right thumb in July 2014, the lawsuit states.
His co-worker Michele Butler-Savage saw blood running down his hand and arm and used her personal cell phone to call 911 as she tried to slow the bleeding with towels.
Butler-Savage told a U.S. agriculture inspector later that day that Bachman did not fully clean or sanitize the area of the plant where the accident happened. She also mentioned a lack of personal protective equipment.
She was fired two days later.
Bachman initially told Butler-Savage that production was slow, but then complained that he had ‘lawsuits pending against him’, according to the lawsuit.
Butler-Savage then filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which found the company violated federal whistleblower protections for workers who report violations of the law.
OSHA is asking that Lone Star Western Beef and Bachman be forced to pay back lost wages and punitive damages to Butler-Savage.