CENTER, TX (KTRE) - In the wake of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's decision to fine Tyson Foods for a workplace incident in which an employee at the company's Center plant lost his finger in a conveyer belt, the company issued a statement saying Tyson is committed to "continual improvement in our workplace safety efforts."
"We never want to see anyone hurt on the job, which is why we're committed to continual improvement in our workplace safety efforts," the statement said. "We fully cooperated with OSHA's inspection of our Center plant and intend to meet with OSHA officials in an effort to resolve these claims. "
The statement went on to say that Tyson Foods employs almost 500 health and safety professionals who work in areas like safety training, safety audits, ergonomics, and health care.
"We also have programs and policies to help protect our employees," the statement said.
OSHA fined the company more than $260,000 for the amputation incident.
According a US Department of Labor press release, inspectors identified two repeated and 15 serious violations.
The investigation revealed the employee's finger became stuck in an unguarded conveyor belt as he worked in the de-bone area and tried to remove chicken parts jammed in the belt, according to the press release.
OSHA inspectors also found more than a dozen serious violations, including failing to ensure proper safety guards on moving machine parts, allowing carbon dioxide levels above the permissible exposure limit, failing to provide personal protective equipment and not training employees on hazards associated with peracetic acid, according to the press release. Used as a disinfectant, the acid can cause burns and respiratory illness if not handled safely.
Inspectors also found employees exposed to slip-and-fall hazards due to a lack of proper drainage, trip-and-fall hazards caused by recessed drains and fire hazards resulting from of improper stored compressed gas cylinders, according to the press release. The inspection falls under OSHA's Regional Emphasis Program for Poultry Processing Facilities.
OSHA cited the company for repeated violations for not making sure employees used appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards. The agency cited Tyson for a similar violation in a 2012 investigation at its Carthage facility, according to the press release. The company also failed to separate compressed gas cylinders of oxygen and acetylene while in storage – a violation for which OSHA cited the company in 2013 at its Albertville, Alabama, facility, according to the press release.
For more information on Tyson Foods' health and safety programs, click this link.