Processing Magazine

Tyson Foods cited for safety violations after mechanic’s death

August 29, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. — Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and chicken, faces penalties of more than $100,000 for safety violations related to a fatal accident at its Dakota City beef processing plant.

The U.S. Department of Labor''s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the company for seven safety violations after conducting an inspection at the company''s facility, where a mechanic was fatally injured on March 14.

The mechanic was performing maintenance work beneath a piece of equipment that had been secured in an elevated position by a chain and quick link, but the chain failed and the equipment crushed the mechanic.

The company was cited for ineffective periodic safety equipment inspections and failing to make necessary modifications to the worker safety protection process through the inspections.

"It is unthinkable that an employer would allow workers in and around dangerous operations without ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA''s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "All employers must take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

Five serious violations involve failing to provide protective equipment for working with chemicals, use tags when lockout devices are not available for equipment, use suitable energy isolation devices for the work environment, train authorized workers on using lockout/tagout devices to control the energy sources of equipment and provide comprehensive training on hazard communication.

Tyson Foods was also cited for “failing to have a competent person certify the hazard assessment.”

Approximately 3,500 workers are employed at the Dakota City facility.