Maintaining a safe working environment should be a goal of all employers in the state of Kansas. Unfortunately, some companies fail to meet this goal, prompting action by government agencies.
A Tyson Foods plant in Kansas is facing a serious fine of up to $147,000 due to a series of safe workplace violations, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. The fine came after an inspection by the agency revealed the plant has violated regulations seven times over the past 10 years, including some recent willful violations.
In addition, the inspection revealed that workers were not properly trained on lockout procedures to prevent the inadvertent operation of machinery, and the plant had removed guardrails, subjecting employees to the possibility of amputation. One man had his arm cut off at the elbow when his garments became caught in a machine while at work, pulling his arm into moving gears. Approximately 150 people work at the plant and may have been put at risk of harm.
OSHA is a government agency tasked with ensuring that workplaces meet a set of safety standards. Not only are workers who are exposed to potential workplace hazards entitled to precautions such as guardrails and protective clothing, but they are also entitled to be trained on how to avoid becoming hurt in a workplace accident. They can also request OSHA to inspect their workplace, which can be made confidentially. Workers cannot face retaliation or discrimination for making such a request.
Employers must provide workers with a safe workplace. By holding employers accountable through an OSHA investigation, employees can make sure their rights are upheld and that they are not subject to an unsafe working environment.
Source: The Kansas City Star, “OSHA cites Kansas Tyson Foods plant for violations, including one that led to severed hand,” Dec. 18