One of the world’s largest food processors and producers of various meats, Tyson Foods Inc, was inspected by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a series of workplace safety infractions. The investigation was conducted after a worker lost his hand inside an unprotected conveyor belt in Tyson Foods’ factory in Hutchinson, Kansas.
"Removing guards and failing to train workers in proper lockout procedures is inexcusable," said the Kansas area OSHA director. "Tyson Foods failed to ensure safety procedures, demonstrating a lack of commitment to workplace safety and health and resulting in a tragic injury."
Workers were cleaning the conveyor belt in June, which required removal of the protective casing, and the internal gears continued to turn despite a previous attempt to turn the conveyor belt off. The conveyor belt lacked a mechanism to prevent unintentional operation. One worker’s frock and another’s arm were pulled into the gears and lost. OSHA found two willful infractions in a failure to properly train workers about exposure to amputation risks. Inspectors also identified serious violations in failure to provide necessary protection against falling risks on catwalks.
Tyson Foods has received a $147,000 fine and been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Companies placed in the SVEP receive multiple follow up inspections to ensure that their safety procedures comply with federal standards. Such an extreme measure is necessary because Tyson Foods has been inspected five times previously yet continues to foster an unsafe work environment.
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