Tyson Foods will pay a $500,000 fine for willfully violating safety regulations that led a worker to be overcome by hydrogen sulfide fumes and later die.
The criminal fine is the maximum allowed. Tyson will also be on probation for one year.
On Oct. 10, 2003, at Tyson’s River Valley Animal Foods plant in Texarkana, AR, maintenance employee Jason Kelley was overcome by the fumes while repairing a leak from a hydrolyzer. Another employee and two emergency responders were hospitalized due to exposure during the rescue attempt.
Federal laws require employers to take steps that limit employee exposure to hazardous substances such as hydrogen sulfide gas.
The gas at the Tyson plant came from the decomposition of biological material such as poultry feathers.
The U.S. Department of Justice statement on the Tyson case is here.