Tyson Foods Faces Big OSHA Fine for Workplace Violations

Image: Fkbowen

Image: Fkbowen

Tyson Foods, one of the largest meat processing companies in the world, faces a $263,000 fine after federal inspectors found more than 15 serious workplace safety violations this month.

The Labor Departments’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated Tyson’s plant in Center, Texas, after an employee’s finger got caught in an unguarded conveyor belt on a chicken deboning machine and had to be amputated.

The inspection found two other repeated violations and 15 more, including open exposure to moving machine parts, a lack of personal protective equipment for workers, and a lack of training on the dangers of handling peracetic acid, which can cause respiratory illnesses and serious burns without proper safety equipment.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has set standards for workplace safety equipment and materials. A lack of proper safety gear is associated with thousands of workplace injuries that occur every year.

“Tyson Foods must do much more to prevent disfiguring injuries like this one from happening,” said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “As one of the nation’s largest food suppliers, it should set an example for workplace safety rather than drawing multiple citations from OSHA for ongoing safety failures.”

The organization also noted that Tyson has faced similar charges in other facilities, including a 2012 violation in Carthage, TX, and a 2013 citation in Albertville, Alabama.

There were also several slip-and-fall hazards at the Center plant due to a lack of drainage or recessed drains. Inspectors also observed a fire hazard from improperly stored compressed gas cylinders.

Tyson will have 15 business days from notice of the citations to comply, contest, or consult with OSHA about the reported violations. The company has since released a statement indicating their cooperation.

“We never want to see anyone hurt on the job, which is why we’re committed to continual improvement in our workplace safety efforts,” the company said.

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