Worker Decapitated While Cleaning Machinery in an Alabama Tyson Chicken Plant

A contract worker at a Tyson chicken plant was tragically beheaded while performing routine machine maintenance. In recent years, Tyson-owned factories have seen countless incidents involving worker death or serious injury. These events have frequently been traced back to unsafe work conditions.

Further, the multinational food company has a long history of attempting to distance itself from these injuries, fighting to avoid financial responsibility for the life-altering impact worker accidents have on workers and their families.

Worker Decapitation at Tyson Chicken Plant

In a Tyson chicken plant near the Alabama-Georgia border, a man named Carlos Lynn was killed on March 3, 2020. He was 39 years old and employed by a third-party cleaning company under contract with Tyson. While cleaning a piece of plant machinery, Lynn’s head became caught in a “pinch point” — a place where a moving part passes close to a stationary object or other moving part. His cause of death was decapitation.

When the media contacted the company for a comment on the workplace death, Tyson said that the incident was under investigation, emphasized the fact that Lynn was employed by a contractor, and expressed gratitude for “the swift response and assistance of local emergency personnel.” Commendable as a swift emergency response may be, it couldn’t possibly have offered much comfort to a worker who had already been beheaded on the scene, or to his family.

Tyson Plant Workers Die on an All-Too-Regular Basis

Equally uncomforting, but more relevant, is the fact that Carlos Lynn is not alone in his fate. The same month, in a Tyson beef plant in Kansas, another worker was killed when a harness pulled him up into a moving belt. The previous year, another Tyson worker in Texas was crushed to death between several fully loaded pallets.

The pattern has continued in recent years at Tyson plants across the country. In August 2022, a North Carolina Tyson worker was killed in a loading dock accident. In October 2023, a worker in a Kentucky Tyson plant was crushed by a machine and had to be airlifted to the hospital.

In short, no Tyson plant injury is an isolated freak tragedy. Deaths at Tyson appear to be part of an ongoing pattern of unsafe workspaces and corporate indifference to human life.

If you have been harmed or a loved one was killed in a Tyson plant accident, you have options. Companies like Tyson have billions of dollars, and it’s an injustice for you to struggle financially after worker duties result in harm or death. Call The Stoddard Firm today at 470-467-2200 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer.

Companies Are Responsible for Contractor Safety

By taking the time in their otherwise sparse response to point out that Lynn worked for a contractor, rather than directly for Tyson, this spokesperson seems to be implying that Lynn’s safety was not Tyson’s responsibility.

This is common practice among companies that use subcontractors to distance themselves from parts of their workforce, but it’s not an airtight legal defense. Small contracting companies receive less oversight than poultry plants, so poultry brands prefer to delegate their most difficult and dangerous labor to them.

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Large poultry brands often exert just as much control over their contractors as they do over their own employees. It’s only reasonable that they are held to the same level of responsibility for how they use that power.

All companies are responsible for making their premises safe for anyone who’s authorized to be there. That includes contractors, regardless of how closely the company monitors and manages those contractors’ actions. They’re also responsible for maintaining safe equipment and machinery.

When a worker is injured or killed on the job in a Tyson factory, their family should never have to struggle financially due to lost income and injury expenses. In 2023, Tyson Foods had an annual revenue of nearly $53 billion and a net worth of over $19 billion. It is a sobering testament to corporate greed that this company would fight to avoid responsibility for the harm done to the workers who make its economic success possible.

How Was It Possible for This to Happen During Routine Cleaning?

Current reports don’t explain how the machine in question could have removed Lynn’s head during a cleaning cycle. There’s no mention of whether it started up unexpectedly, or whether the moving parts were able to cause this kind of damage without being powered on.

In either case, this accident indicates something seriously wrong with either the original design of the machine or the way it has been used or modified at the Tyson location. Depending on exactly how the accident occurred, either Tyson, the equipment provider, the equipment installer, or all three may be liable for Lynn’s wrongful death.

Despite the huge number of Tyson worker injuries that are suspected to go unreported, OSHA issued at least 20 violations for worker injuries at Tyson food plants in 2023 alone.

Our Tyson Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help

The duty to provide safe property and non-defective machinery is spelled out in civil law. The Stoddard Firm isn’t afraid to go to trial to help the victims of the poultry industry gain the resources they need to rebuild their lives. We have experience explaining the legal responsibilities of plant owners and equipment manufacturers.

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If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a poultry plant accident, call The Stoddard Firm at 470-467-2200 or use our online chat function to schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta personal injury attorney.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury LawyerMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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