<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Tyson Polluting Yet Again, Causing Injury 

Well, I read an article yesterday about
Tyson having an ammonia spill again.
Those that have been reading this blog
for awhile will remember that I talked
about that very thing not too long ago
happening at the Grannis plant. In fact,
it happened twice while I worked there.

What makes this even more scary is the
fact that they use ammonia and chlorine
at the same plant. The combination of
the two of these chemicals can be fatal
because of the fumes that are created
from the chemical reaction that takes
place when the two come in contact with
each other.

They had one worker injured with burns
on his body from the ammonia and went
to the hospital. The rest of the workers
evacuated, with some noticing others
heading out the fire doors and leaving the
building, so they followed them.

Of course, Tyson had no comment on
what may have caused it or how much
actually spilled. But, the article also goes
on to point out that:

Tyson's has been the site of a couple of
spills in recent years. The plant was evacuated
in July of last year after a chlorine tank behind
the main building started to leak. 500 employees
were sent home and two taken to the hospital
as a precaution.

Back in 1996, a mechanical failure at Tyson
released ammonia gas throughout the facility.
At that time, officials did not evacuate, saying
there was no danger to workers or the environment.

They did evacuate our plant the first time when
a line burst and discharged inside the plant, but
the second time, the leak was so bad that the
cops were stopping us on the road on the way
to work, either to detour around the plant or
to turn around and go home. In this case, they
also evacuated the entire town of Grannis, about
600 people.

This leak happened during the transfer of the
ammonia from the transport truck to the holding
tank on top of the plant. Almost the whole load
was released into the air. I don't know for sure
what happened, but I was told that when they
went to disconnect the transport truck from the
holding tank, the valve on the holding tank would
not close, so everybody just ran.

I wonder if Tyson thought that this was a risk
to the environment. They probably had no

Both of these cases could have been prevented
with proper maintenance. It is not a case of the
maintenance people doing shoddy work, it is a
case of the company not ordering the parts they
need to stay on top of these situations. Most
of the accidents and mechanical failures have
been due to this very problem. Tyson just won't
spend the money to keep things maintained and
people get hurt. I don't know how many times
I have heard maintenance say that they couldn't
get the parts they needed to keep things up.

Bonuses are given out to those supervisors and
managers that keep expenses below the budget.
They get a percentage of whatever is left out of
their budget for the year. All the way up the line
this kind of behavior is encouraged by this system
because all bonuses have been gained by skimping
on something somewhere, usually a whole lot of

Tyson promotes production and profits over and
above everything else, including safety. This
should be quite obvious to anyone who has been
reading all this. They should be held accountable
and made to do the right thing. People are hurt
and killed every year by this kind of policy.

How much longer will we let them get away with it?
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