A state health and safety group is inspecting the local Garvey Processing plant after an employee fell 47 feet from a ladder over two weeks ago and shattered his tailbone and vertebrae.
Matt Jackson fell on March 1 toward the end of his work shift, when employees found him lying on a catwalk and called 911. Jackson underwent a 10-hour surgery and has begun what looks to be many months of physical therapy at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock, his sister Christi Jackson said Thursday. She said her brother has feeling in his legs but has difficulty moving them.
“We don’t know, it’s just up in the air right now. He’s in good spirits though. We’re just happy he’s alive. That first night we didn’t know if he was going to make it or not,” Christi said.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections after injuries on the job are very common, said Don Rideout, OSHA’s program manager for compliance. He said the inspection should be complete by next week, and will show whether or not Garvey is in compliance with health and safety standards.
If the company is not in compliance, Rideout said OSHA will issue citations against the company. If the citations are classified as serious, Garvey could be charged with monetary fines between $200 to $2,500, but the amount varies based on many factors including the company’s size and how well Garvey officials work with OSHA officials.
He said the company has not been charged with any serious citations in three years, something OSHA officials will take into account if they charge Garvey with a serious citation.
“To be fair to the company we may not be dealing with a serious citation, maybe a minor one or none at all,” Rideout said.
Garvey spokesperson Lita Jimenez said the fall was an accident and Garvey has always been a safe place to work. She said she is aware of OSHA’s inspection.
“We don’t anticipate any citations,” Jimenez said. “Obviously it was an accident. We do pride ourselves on operating a very safe operation throughout our entire company. At this point we’re just hoping he will recover from all this.”
Jimenez said this is the first time a local Garvey employee was seriously injured on the job. She said since no other employee saw Matt fall, the cause is still undetermined.
Garvey processes bulk commodities for livestock.