OSHA Cites Tyson Nebraska Plant over Safety

US – The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Tyson Fresh Meats in Lexington for one repeat and seven serious violations following combined safety and health inspections at the facility.
calendar icon 21 April 2011
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The comapny now has 15 days to respond to the charges that carry penalties totalling $66,000.

OSHA's inspections of Tyson Fresh Meats, a red meat producer, were initiated in January under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high occupational injury and illness rates, and its Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program. OSHA's PSM standard emphasizes the management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices.

"OSHA has a stringent PSM standard," said Charles E. Adkins, the agency's regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri.

"It is imperative that employers rigorously update and properly maintain each element of the process to minimize hazards, and that they provide an overall safe and healthful workplace for employees."

Four serious citations are for failing to guard a rotating shaft, using compressed air for cleaning at over 30 pounds per square inch, failing to cover an electrical fitting and failing to determine the concentration of carbon dioxide, a respiratory hazard. Three additional serious citations relate directly to the PSM: Mechanical integrity inspections of system relief valves were not made as frequently as established, either by the company or recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices. Deficiencies that had been identified in ammonia refrigeration systems were not corrected before further use or in a safe and timely manner. Appropriate checks and inspections were not performed for the installation of process valves. 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 repeat citation is similar to a PSM-related citation issued in May 2008 for the company's failure to address the co-location of gas-fired boilers and ammonia compressors. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

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