Tyson Workers Hospitalized after Chlorine Gas Leak

June 29, 2011
On June 27, hundreds of Tyson Foods employees were evacuated from the company’s Berry Street poultry plant in Springdale, Ark., following an accidental chemical mixture that exposed them to chlorine gas. Fourteen workers remain hospitalized, including one in intensive care.

Human error allegedly led to the mixing of two unspecified chemicals that created chlorine gas. A total of 300 workers were evacuated from the plant and 173 were evaluated at hospitals.

“Our team members are the most important part of our business, so we’re doing everything possible to help them through this difficult time,” Gary Mickelson, Tyson spokesperson, told EHS Today. “Tyson has set up a temporary medical clinic at the plant this week, staffed by a physician, to do follow-up evaluations with affected team members. The company also brought in additional human resources staff and chaplains to assist affected team members and their families.”

Media reports indicate that as many as five employees were in intensive care on June 28; the company now states that one employee remains in intensive care. In a June 29 email, Mickelson said the company hoped “additional team members will be released today” from hospitals.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Mickelson added that Tyson is “reviewing the accident so an unfortunate event like this can be prevented in the future.”

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