by Dan Gibson
If you haven't eaten recently, it might be worth setting aside some time to read an amazingly assembled three part series (the third part runs tomorrow on the changing of federal dietary guidelines to promote the eating of more beef) in the Kansas City Star. The stories aren't shocking on an Upton Sinclair level, but the consolidation of the beef industry does have an ugly side, apparently, including issues with the tenderizing process, what happens to the manure, and worker safety:
But these automated plants have their own hazards, according to a computer analysis of workplace injuries by The Star.
Meat plant employees have died from falling into grinders and augers; asphyxiation; electrocution; and being kicked by semiconscious cows.
At the Tyson plant, 37-year-old Rodney Bridgett, a father of four young boys, was crushed to death March 14 by an elevated work platform he was repairing.
Federal officials in August cited Tyson for two “willful” workplace safety violations, and the company is facing fines of $104,000.
“It is unthinkable that an employer would allow workers in and around dangerous operations without ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place,” said Charles E. Adkins, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Kansas City-based regional administrator.
Tyson officials said they were “saddened by the tragic death” of Bridgett and are working with OSHA to resolve agency concerns.