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Food plant cited after employee loses limb in workplace injury

Unguarded manufacturing equipment is a menace to safety and health professionals throughout Colorado and the rest of the nation. Too many employees lose their limbs - or even their lives - after suffering a workplace injury because employers fail to follow standard safety protocol. A food manufacturing plant in Colorado's neighboring state of Kansas is in hot water after a worker suffered serious injury after just such a workplace accident.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials say that the Tyson Foods plant has been cited after a worker suffered a severed hand because of a conveyor belt that was unguarded. That accident happened in June, when several workers were cleaning the machine. It appears that the machine guard - a safety mechanism designed to keep body parts out of moving parts - was removed. Further, workers in the plant were not properly trained on lockout/tagout procedures, which are designed to prevent machines from re-activating while a worker is performing maintenance or repairs.

Tyson has been cited for two willful violations, the most severe citations that OSHA can issue. Those indicate that the company was intentionally violating safety protocol, perhaps to improve production and maximize profits. Further, a serious violation was issued because workers could have fallen as they walked to unsafe upper platforms throughout the plant. Total fines in the matter are estimated at $147,000.

All manufacturing workers deserve to be kept safe from on-the-job injury. Workers' injuries should never be caused by blatant and intentional disregard for workplace safety. Victims who have been injured in such scenarios deserve financial compensation to pay for their medical costs, rehabilitation and disability. A qualified workers' compensation attorney may be able to help those victims receive the money they need and deserve after a workplace accident.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Tyson Foods cited by US Labor Department's OSHA for 4 workplace safety violations after worker's hand severed by unguarded machine" Scott Allen and Rhonda Burke, Dec. 17, 2013

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