OSHA Cites Tyson Foods Over Safety Issues

US – Tyson Foods faces fines of up to $71,500 after it has been cited for one repeat and nine serious violations by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
calendar icon 14 July 2011
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These violations at the company's beef plant in Dakota City were cited following combined safety and health inspections at the facility.

OSHA's inspections of the red meat producer were initiated in May 2011 under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting programme for industries with high occupational injury and illness rates, and its Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis programme.

OSHA's PSM standard emphasizes the management of dangers associated with highly hazardous chemicals, and establishes a comprehensive management programme that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices.

"OSHA has a stringent PSM standard," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri.

"It is imperative that employers rigorously update and properly maintain each element of the process to minimise hazards, and provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees."

Six of the 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 relate directly to the PSM, including failing to ensure that installed equipment met recognised 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 occurs 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.

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.

The company 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. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Omaha Area Office.

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