Tyson Foods plant faces $339K fine for 59 safety violations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Tyson Foods Inc. in Noel, Mo., for serious, willful, repeat and other-than-serious violations of safety and health standards. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $339,500.

OSHA began an inspection January 9 as part of its Site-Specific Targeting Program, which targets the nation's most hazardous workplaces based on histories of high numbers of injury and illness. As a result, the agency is issuing $146,000 in proposed penalties for 46 serious violations, $55,000 for one willful violation, $137,500 for eight repeat violations and $1,000 for four other-than-serious violations.

"Employers must provide a safe and healthful working environment and ensure that all employees are protected from hazardous conditions," said Charles E. Adkins, CIH, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "This employer was well aware of federal standards to protect employees from the hazards found during inspection, yet did not comply with them."

The alleged serious violations address: a lack of exhaust duct grease filters and inspections; floors not maintained in a clean and dry condition; unguarded walking/working surfaces above 4 feet; obstructed exits; exit routes inadequately illuminated and one adjacent to a high-hazard area; unavailable and underdeveloped energy control procedures; an incomplete annual inspection not understood by employees; and lack of training.

Serious violations also were noted for a lack of identification tags on slings; broken oxygen gauges; storage of incompatible chemicals; a lack of hazard communication labeling and training; aisles too small for forklift traffic; powered industrial trucks not being inspected prior to use and used in a damaged condition; an unguarded conveyor belt system; unguarded belts and pulleys; flash burn from welding rays; exposed, energized electrical wiring; and hazards associated with process safety management.

The alleged repeat violations include unsafe stacking of material; unguarded moving parts of machinery and equipment; unguarded revolving drum ends; exposed, energized electrical wiring; not providing a distinctive alarm for an ammonia release; not providing quick drench/eyewash stations in needed areas; containers of hazardous chemicals lacking labels displaying appropriate chemical identities and hazard warnings; and not providing effective hazard communication training.

The alleged willful violation addresses not providing procedures for emergency shutdown and startup following an emergency shutdown of the process system. The other-than-serious violations include exit doors not being marked; recordkeeping; medical evaluation and inaccessible material safety data sheets.

The employer has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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