A gruesome employee injury led federal workplace safety inspectors to discover the nation's largest meat and poultry processor endangered workers by exposing them to amputation hazards, high levels of carbon dioxide and peracetic acid without providing personal protective equipment.
Responding to a report of a finger amputation at the Tyson Foods Inc. chicken processing facility in Center, Texas, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors identified two repeated and 15 serious violations. The company faces $263,498 in proposed fines.
The investigation determined the employee suffered an amputation when his finger became stuck in an unguarded conveyor belt as he worked in the debone area and tried to remove chicken parts jammed in the belt.
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. Used as a disinfectant, the acid can cause burns and respiratory illness if not handled safely.