HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Tyson Foods, Inc. received four workplace safety citations after a worker's hand was severed by an unguarded conveyor belt, the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported. The company faces $147,000 in proposed fines.
The accident occurred June 17 at the company's Hutchinson, Kan. facility, according to the agency. Four workers were cleaning conveyor equipment at the end of their shift, and guarding on the conveyor was removed. A worker's frock and the employee's arm were pulled into the gears of the conveyor. The conveyor had not been locked out to prevent unintentional operation, OSHA said.
The company received two willful violations for failing to train workers on lockout/tagout procedures. One serious violation was issued for failing to provide fixed stairs to reach work areas on the plant's upper platform. OSHA issued a citation for one other-than-serious violation involved illegible markings on forklift levers.
OSHA said the severity of the violations warranted placing the Springdale, Ark.-based company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA has inspected Tyson's Hutchinson plant five times in the past 10 years, resulting in seven violations.
"Workplace safety is very important to everyone at our company," said Worth Sparkman, Tyson spokesman, in a statement. "We expect our employees to perform to the highest safety and health standards across Tyson Foods operations at all times. Our efforts include safety policies and training, and the involvement of workers in our safety committees. We’re reviewing the citations and will work cooperatively with OSHA to resolve these concerns."