US Labor Department's OSHA cites Tyson Foods, proposes $121,720 in fines
for workplace safety hazards at Buffalo, NY, production plant
Arkansas-based meat processor previously cited for similar hazards in 3 other states
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Tyson Foods Inc. for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection at its Buffalo manufacturing plant. The processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork faces a total of $121,720 in proposed fines. The inspection, which began on May 15, was conducted under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.
"These new and recurring hazards exposed the plant's workers to falls, electrocution, burns, being caught in unexpectedly activated machinery and ammonia," said Art Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "Tyson Foods needs to address these hazards quickly, effectively and completely, so they do not occur again."
OSHA found a cross section of mechanical, electrical and fall hazards, as well as several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program for its refrigeration system that uses large amounts of ammonia. The hazards include failing to guard skylights and roof hatchway, guard a press, provide safety-related work practices to prevent electric shock and arc flash burns, and provide workers with protective equipment when using energized equipment. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 11 serious citations with $61,000 in fines. 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 inspection also identified three hazards similar to those cited in Hutchinson, Kan.; Concordia, Mo.; and Dakota City, Neb. These recurring hazards involve failing to document that refrigeration equipment complied with generally accepted good engineering practices, guard floor holes and maintain a sufficient work space in front of electrical equipment. Three repeat citations were issued with $60,720 in fines. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any of its facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Tyson_Cits.pdf*.
Arkansas-based Tyson Foods has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Buffalo Area Office at 716-551-3053.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
# # #
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.