Tyson Foods Fined $500,000 for Worker’s Death

June 15, 2009

Tyson Foods has sentenced in federal court to pay a $500,000 fine and serve a year on probation for the death of a Texarkana worker overcome by poisonous fumes at a rendering plant in Arkansas.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration won the maximum fine for a willful violation of worker safety regulations. OSHA said maintenance worker Jason Kelley was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas generated by decomposing poultry feathers. Five other people were injured.

The federal regulators said Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson didn’t take sufficient steps to reduce exposure to the gas after a March 2002 incident at the River Valley Animal Foods Plant in Texarkana.

Tyson Foods pleaded guilty in January. It said then that the incident was an accident and that steps had been taken to prevent additional ones.

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