Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
State, Tyson Chicken settle labor case
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 21, 2005) – Tyson Chicken Inc. has agreed to pay $184,515 to settle six enforcement cases, one of which involved an accident that killed two employees at the company’s processing plant in Robards, Ky., in July 1999, the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) announced today.
It is the largest occupational safety and health (OSH) settlement in Kentucky history, according to records at the Kentucky Department of Labor, an EPPC agency. Under the single, global settlement, $35,000 of the penalty will be spent by Tyson on safety and health improvements at its Kentucky facilities.
Tyson had purchased the processing plant about 18 months before the accident and had implemented safety training. The company maintained that its training, if complied with, would have prevented the accident. The employees were overcome by deadly vapors while attempting to retrieve equipment in a confined space.
“It was a terrible tragedy for the families and the community and highlights the importance of employers and employees alike understanding and complying with workplace safety regulations,” EPPC Secretary LaJuana S. Wilcher said.
“Improving worker and workplace safety in the state is a goal of our cabinet and Governor Ernie Fletcher’s administration. Even one worker injury or death is one too many,” Wilcher said.
The former state Labor Cabinet initiated OSH inspections following the fatal accident and filed the actions that resulted in today’s global settlement.