Iowa OSHA declined to inspect Perry Tyson after COVID complaint

Nearly 60% of the workers at the Tyson Fresh Meats in Perry tested positive for COVID-19 April 25. Iowa OSHA closed a complaint case April 28 without inspecting the plant.

Two weeks before the April 25 mass surveillance testing at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Perry revealed almost 60% of the workforce was infected with the novel coronavirus, a complaint was filed about the factory with the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), claiming social distancing guidance was not being followed, according to an Associated Press report by Ryan J. Foley published Monday.

Nine days after the April 11 complaint, Iowa OSHA responded with a letter to the Perry plant, and Tyson Fresh Meats Plant Manager Mike Grothe replied to the OSHA letter April 28, describing the factory’s efforts to comply voluntarily with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Iowa OSHA deemed Tyson’s voluntary efforts adequate and closed the case without inspecting the Perry plant.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Labor Commission told Foley the complaint was handled in accordance with interim federal guidance for routine complaints of coronavirus exposure. Such complaints do not normally result in on-site inspections, in part to protect inspectors.


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