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Tyson Foods to pay maximum fine for worker's death

Tyson Foods Inc. is being ordered to pay the maximum fine for violating worker safety regulations, which resulted in the death of a worker at the company's River Valley Animal Foods plant in Texarkana, Arkansas.

The company was sentenced to pay $500,000, the maximum criminal fine as well as serve one-year probation.
According to the court documents filed in the case, Tyson used high-pressure steam processors called hydrolyzers at plants to convert feathers into meal.
However, the decomposition of such material produces hydrogen sulfide gas, an acute-acting toxic substance. The employees working on or near the hydrolyzers were often exposed to the gas.
Despite the awareness of corporate safety and regional management, nothing was done to ensure employees were safe.
As a result, at on Oct. 10, 2003, RVAF maintenance employee Jason Kelley was overcome with hydrogen sulfide gas while repairing a leak from a hydrolyzer and later died.

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