OSHA investigation under way

Contract sanitation worker dies in Tyson plant accident

By Heidi Parsons contact

- Last updated on GMT

An employee of contract sanitation provider QSI died while cleaning a machine at a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Tennessee.
An employee of contract sanitation provider QSI died while cleaning a machine at a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Tennessee.
An employee of a contract sanitation company has died after reportedly falling into a piece of equipment he was cleaning at a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

James A. Currier, 38, was employed by QSI, according to news reports. QSI is a division of The Vincit Group, which provides plant sanitation and food safety services to food manufacturers throughout North and South America.

“We’re saddened by the death of an employee of a contract cleaning company working at our Shelbyville plant,”​ said Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson in a statement provided to FoodProductionDaily.

“It happened early Tuesday morning when the plant was not in operation but was being cleaned and sanitized. While details of the incident are being reviewed, we can tell you it happened while the worker was cleaning some equipment.”

“OSHA (the Occupational Health and Safety Administration) has been contacted by the contract cleaning company,”​ Mickelson added. He said the plant did not operate on Tuesday.

Safety SOP

QSI spokesman Gene Boulware could not be reached for comment. However, in a statement released to the media, QSI officials said, “It is with heartfelt sadness that we must report the loss of a team member at our QSI Shelbyville operation.”

“Our sympathies and condolences go out to the family members and our fellow team associates. Our first concern is to assist the family with any needs that they may have and we will continue to be in contact with them,” officials added. 

Employee safety is always of priority to QSI. We have launched an investigation and will be working closely with OSHA.”

Too soon to tell

Although the federal OSHA has an office in Tennessee, the state also has its own OSHA (TOSHA), and that is the agency investigating this incident.

“We are in the on-site investigation stage and will not have our report completed for a few weeks,”​ TOSHA administrator Steve Hawkins told FoodProductionDaily.

When the investigation is complete, our report will be available,”​ he said. “If violations of Tennessee OSHA standards are documented, citations and penalties will be issued.”

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