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Region 7 News Release: 12-1740-KAN
Aug. 27, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:            312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Tyson Foods in Dakota City,
Neb., for willful and serious violations after worker fatality

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Tyson Foods Inc. for seven safety violations after conducting an inspection at the company's Dakota City beef processing facility, where a mechanic was fatally injured on March 14.

The mechanic was performing maintenance work beneath a piece of equipment that had been secured in an elevated position by a chain and quick link, but the chain failed and the equipment crushed the mechanic. A willful violation was cited for ineffective periodic safety equipment inspections and failing to make necessary modifications to the worker safety protection process through the inspections. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

"It is unthinkable that an employer would allow workers in and around dangerous operations without ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "All employers must take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

Five serious violations involve failing to provide protective equipment for working with chemicals, use tags when lockout devices are not available for equipment, use suitable energy isolation devices for the work environment, train authorized workers on using lockout/tagout devices to control the energy sources of equipment and provide comprehensive training on hazard communication. 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.

Additionally, one other-than-serious violation is failing to have a competent person certify the hazard assessment.

Tyson Foods Inc. is headquartered in Springdale, Ark., and is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, as well as prepared foods. The company employs about 115,000 workers at more than 400 facilities and offices in the U.S. and around the world. Approximately 3,500 workers are employed at the Dakota City facility.

Proposed penalties total $104,200, for the citations, which can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/TysonFoods_281167_0824_12.pdf*.

Tyson 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.

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 Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0717.

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.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD 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.


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