rainn.png
Sunday July 3rd, 2022 10:45PM

OSHA finds Foundation Food Group, three other companies could have prevented poultry plant deaths

By AccessWDUN staff

Federal officials have ruled Foundation Food Group, Inc. and three related companies could have prevented the deaths of six workers who were killed in a nitrogen leak at a Gainesville poultry plant earlier this year. 

In a statement released Friday morning, the U.S. Department of Labor said OSHA investigators found 59 safety and health violations at the poultry processing plant. 

"Six people’s deaths, and injuries suffered by at least a dozen others, were entirely avoidable,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh in the statement. "The Department of Labor is dedicated to upholding the law and using everything in our power to get justice for the workers’ families. The bottom line is no one should leave for work wondering if they’ll return home at the end of the day, and the Department of Labor is committed to holding bad actors accountable.”

Investigators said three of the victims were plant maintenance workers who entered the freezer room to investigate a malfunctioning freezer. They were overcome by odorless liquid nitrogen that had been released into the air at the plant. Two other workers who entered the room also were overcome. All five died immediately. The sixth victim, who was exposed to the gas, died on the way to the hospital. 

According to the statement, the investigation determined Foundation Food Group Inc. and Messer LLC of Bridgewater, New Jersey, failed to implement any of the safety procedures necessary to prevent the nitrogen leak, or to equip workers responding to it with the knowledge and equipment that could have saved their lives. OSHA cited Foundation Food Group, Messer LLC, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. Ltd. of Kieler, Wisconsin; and FS Group Inc. of Albertville, Alabama – all responsible for operations at the Gainesville facility – for a total of 59 violations and proposed $998,637 in penalties.

"This horrible tragedy could have been prevented had the employers taken the time to use – and teach their workers the importance of – safety precautions,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “Instead, six workers died as a result of their employers’ failure to follow necessary procedures and to comply with required safety and health standards. We hope other industry employers learn from this terrible incident and comply with safety and health requirements to prevent similar incidents.”

Foundation Food Group, Inc. was cited for 26 violations, including six willful violations for exposing workers to thermal injuries and suffocation hazards resulting from the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen; failing to develop, document and use lockout procedures; not informing employees that liquid nitrogen, an asphyxiate, was used in the onsite freezer; not training employees on the methods and observations used to detect the presence or release of nitrogen; failing to train workers on the hazards of liquid nitrogen, and not training employees on the emergency procedures they can take to protect themselves. As a result of these violations, Foundation Food Group faces $595,474 in penalties.

Messer, LLC, which delivered the industrial gas to the plant was flagged for six serious violations. OSHA found Messer exposed workers to injuries and suffocation from the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen; failed to ensure an egress path was unobstructed; and did not develop, document and use lockout procedures, nor ensure lockout procedures were shared between the host employer and contractors. Messer faces $74,118 in penalties.

Packers Sanitation Services, Inc., Ltd., which provided cleaning and sanitation services at the planted was cited for 17 serious, and two repeat violations for failing to train workers on the hazards of liquid nitrogen and anhydrous ammonia, and not ensuring emergency eye washes were available and unobstructed. OSHA cited the employer in 2017 and 2018 for similar violations. As a result of these violations, Packers Sanitation Services faces $286,720 in penalties.

FS Group, Inc., which manufactures equipment and provides mechanical servicing was cited for eight serious violations for failing to train workers on the physical and health hazards of liquid nitrogen and emergency procedures related to liquid nitrogen. The company also failed to ensure the development and use of specific written lockout procedures and ensure that the host employer and contractors shared information on lockout procedures. FS Group Inc. faces $42,325 in penalties.

All four companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply with payment of fines, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: liquid nitrogen leak , Foundation Food Group , poultry plant deaths , OSHA violations , poultry plant workers killed , Messer, LLC, Packers Sanitation Service, Inc, Ltd., FS Group, Inc.
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
OSHA finds Foundation Food Group, three other companies could have prevented poultry plant deaths
Federal officials have ruled Foundation Food Group, Inc. and three related companies could have prevented the deaths of six workers who were killed in a nitrogen leak at a Gainesville poultry plant earlier this year.
11:39AM ( 19 minutes ago )
GDOL: Gainesville unemployment rate rises to 3% in June
The unemployment rate for the Gainesville metro area increased in June, but other factors in the monthly jobs report are more promising, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
6:17AM ( 1 day ago )
GDOL: Georgia's unemployment rate drops to lowest level since before the pandemic
Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped another tenth of a percentage point to reach four percent in June, according to the latest report from the Georgia Department of Labor.
7:20AM ( 1 week ago )
Business News
Hall County fire crews battling chicken house fire in North Hall
Hall County Fire crews are battling a fire at a chicken house used for storage at a location off Clark's Bridge Road.
10:10AM ( 1 hour ago )
Large single-family home site to become 127-home subdivision
Hall County commissioners approved a rezoning application Thursday evening that will allow for the construction of up to 127 single-family homes.
8:59PM ( 14 hours ago )
Jefferson issues Boil Water Advisory for affected areas
After suffering a water main break, the City of Jefferson is under a boil water advisory until further notice.
8:09PM ( 15 hours ago )
Local/State News
Advocates for immigrant workers demand investigations, compensation for those impacted by chemical leak
For more than an hour today, advocates for immigrant workers demanded a wide-ranging investigation and financial help for those employees impacted by a deadly chemical leak at a Gainesville poultry processing plant.
4:02PM ( 5 months ago )
6 dead, 4 still hospitalized after liquid nitrogen leak at Gainesville plant
Six people died Thursday and four remain hospitalized following an accident after a liquid nitrogen line ruptured at a Gainesville poultry plant.
By AccessWDUN staff
4:10PM ( 5 months ago )
Fund established for families of poultry workers killed in nitrogen leak
A fundraising account aimed to assist the families of the six poultry workers killed in a nitrogen leak Jan. 28 has been set up through Peach State Bank.
By AccessWDUN staff
2:00PM ( 5 months ago )
Federal investigators say 'unresolved operational issues' found with equipment at Gainesville poultry plant
Federal investigators have released a third report from the ongoing probe into a deadly chemical leak at a Gainesville poultry processing plant, saying the probe has unveiled "unresolved operation issues" on a conveyor line where the leak occurred.
By AccessWDUN Staff
6:56AM ( 5 months ago )
With muted ceremony and empty stadium, Tokyo Olympics begin
The Tokyo Games have arrived at last, after a yearlong delay
10:22AM ( 1 hour ago )