Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tyson Foods Fined for Worker Death

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Arkansas and agreed to pay $500,000, the maximum fine, for willfully violating worker safety regulations that led to a worker's death, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

According to a news release, Jason Kelley was killed at Tyson Foods' River Valley Animal Foods plant in Texarkana, Ark., after being overcome with hydrogen sulfide gas while repairing a leak from a hydrolyzer.

Tyson Foods used high-pressure steam processors called, called hydrolyzers, to convert poultry feather into feather meal. The Justice Department said the conversion process creates hydrogen sulfide gas, an acute-acting toxic substance tha's harmful to workers. It said Tyson Foods was aware of the dangers of the gas and that it was present at the plant but did not take "sufficient steps" to reduce exposure within prescribed limits or provide effective training to employees.

"Federal laws require employers to undertake steps that limit exposure to dangerous substances like the gas that killed Jason Kelley," said Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Tyson Foods willfully ignored these regulations and today is being held responsible."

According to Tuesday's plea agreement, Tyson Food will pay $500,000, the maximum criminal fine. The company also will serve one year probation, according to the Justice Department

(Arkansas Business, January 6, 2009)

1 comment:

Steven said...

They agreed they have willfully created an unsafe work situation. Now if we could only get them to agree that they regularly hire illegals and pay them substandard wages.