Tyson Foods fined $263K for workplace safety violations

Tyson Foods fined $263K for workplace safety violations
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The Labor Department is fining the nation’s largest meat and poultry processor $263,000 for repeatedly violating workplace safety laws.

The agency’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it launched an investigation after receiving a report that a worker at Tyson Foods’s chicken-processing facility in Center, Texas, had lost a finger while on the job.

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OSHA said the employee was deboning a chicken and got their finger stuck in an unguarded conveyor belt when they tried to remove chicken parts that were jammed.

In investigating that incident, OSHA said it identified two repeated and 15 serious violations of workplace safety laws.

The company is accused of endangering workers by exposing them to amputation hazards and high levels of carbon dioxide and peracetic acid without providing personal protective equipment. 

“Tyson Foods must do much more to prevent disfiguring injuries like this one from happening,” David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “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.”

OSHA said it also found that employees were exposed to slip-and-fall hazards due to a lack of proper drainage, trip-and-fall hazards caused by recessed drains, and fire hazards resulting from improperly stored compressed gas cylinders.

The agency said Tyson Foods has repeated failed to make sure employees used appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards, a violation the company was cited for following a similar investigation at its facility in Carthage, Texas, in 2012.

In a statement to The Hill, Tyson Foods said it fully cooperated with OSHA's investigation and intends to meet with agency officials to resolve the claims.

"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.

This story was updated at 4:09 p.m.