OMAHA, Neb. – Tyson Foods Inc.’s Dakota City facility was cited for one repeat and nine serious violations by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These violations, carrying proposed penalties of $71,500, were cited following combined safety and health inspections at the facility, OSHA said.

The agency’s inspections were initiated in May 2011 under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high occupational injury and illness rates, and its Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program. OSHA's PSM standard emphasizes the management of dangers associated with highly hazardous chemicals, and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices.

Six serious violations involve failing to ensure fixed ladders were maintained in a safe condition; ensure personal protective equipment was worn where necessary; inspect lockout/tagout energy control procedures on an annual basis in the manner prescribed by the standard; maintain electrical installations in a safe condition; provide strain relief for electrical cords; and store incompatible chemicals in separate areas. The remaining three serious violations related to the PSM, including failing to ensure installed equipment met recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices relating to discharge locations; develop valve change out/installation procedures under the PSM mechanical integrity element; and ensure that nondestructive piping inspections were conducted within five years.

A serious violation exists when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, OSHA relays.

OSHA said the repeat violation is similar to a PSM-related violation issued in January 2011 at the company's Lexington facility for failing to inspect and ensure that installation of system relief valves was accomplished in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Tyson Foods has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

“We care about the safety of our team members and will be reviewing OSHA's concerns, which did not involve any workplace injuries and illnesses,” Tyson Foods spokesman Gary Mickelson told “All of our plants, including our Dakota City facility, have workplace safety protocol and programs in place, as well as safety committees that involve our production workers.”