Tyson Foods states on its website that it’s “leading the way in food safety.” If by leading the way, Tyson means that the company ranks among the least safest places to work in the United States, they are indeed leading the way.
Since 2015, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has required employers to report severe workplace injuries. The previous rule only required reporting fatalities. Although an estimated 50% of these incidents go unreported, OSHA logs the reported incidents and evaluates companies based on their safety records. Incidents employers must now report include loss of eyes, amputations, and overnight stays in hospitals.
OSHA’s 2015-2016 report reveals that Tyson Foods ranked among the most dangerous places to work (4th on the list) of the 14,000 companies reporting injuries. Two other chicken and meat processing plants, JBS/Pilgrim’s Pride and Cargill, also ranked among the least safest places to work.
The number of workplace injuries at Tyson is shocking. OSHA revealed that Tyson reported 70 amputations and hospitalizations alone in the span of their most recent report. According to OSHA, Tyson’s failure to provide safety mechanisms on their machinery, sufficient training, or required protective equipment often resulted in employees losing hands and suffering other severe injuries.
OSHA recently fined Tyson for underreporting such incidents. In fact, in 2016, OSHA fined Tyson more than $700,000 for workplace safety and health violations, including a horrific incident at a Texas plant. OSHA has also reported on the culture that companies like Tyson breed that discourages employees from reporting injuries and that delays treatment to avoid reporting.
Injuries in the animal agriculture industry eclipsed injuries in the construction, steel, auto, and saw mill industries which are typically found to pose the highest risks to the safety of employees.