Tyson plant fined $45,000 for worker safety hazards

by Bryan Salvage
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JEFFERSON, Wis. – Tyson Foods’ Jefferson, Wis. facility, which produces products such as deli salami and pepperoni pizza toppings, was issued 10 safety citations for not complying with general industry occupational safety regulations by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As a result of an OSHA inspection conducted last October, the company faces $45,000 in penalties.

Nine serious citations were issued after inspectors noted a lack of fall protection; deficiencies in Tyson's process safety management program, respiratory protection program and control of hazardous energy lockout/tagout program; and a lack of proper maintenance of powered industrial trucks. When there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew about or should have known about, a serious violation occurs, OSHA stated.

The facility also received one other-than-serious citation for not conducting a personal protection equipment hazard assessment. Such a violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

“Workplace safety is an important part of our company’s culture, and is very important to us at Jefferson,” Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson told MEATPOULTRY.com by email. “Our efforts include safety policies and training and the involvement of workers in our plant safety committee. While we have not been given an opportunity to analyze the citations, our understanding from the OSHA inspector involved is that the health matters are primarily about paperwork issues relating to the plant’s refrigeration system.

“The inspection and citations do not involve any workplace injury or illness. We will be reviewing the citations and consider our options,” he concluded.

Tyson has 15 business days from when it received its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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