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Proposed $ 1 million fine for nitrogen leak killing 6 people in poultry factory

Federal Occupational Safety and Health Authorities determined in January that a poultry plant in Gainesville, Georgia was able to prevent liquid nitrogen from leaking and killing six workers, after which $ 1 million for four companies Proposed a nearby fine.

Foundation Food Group, a poultry processing company based in Gainesville, and Messer in Bridgewater, NJ, have installed a liquid nitrogen freezer system at their plant.To equip workers with nitrogen leaks, or their corresponding workers, with the knowledge and equipment that could have saved their lives, “said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. statement on Friday.

The agency cited a total of 59 companies, the Packers Sanitation Service in Keeler, Wisconsin, which provides factory cleaning and hygiene services, and the FS Group in Albertville, Alabama, which manufactures equipment and provides mechanical services. He violated and offered to pay a total fine of $ 998,637.

Foundation Food Group has raised a maximum of $ 595,474 after being cited in 26 violations, including six willful violations of exposing workers to the risk of burns and choking due to the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen. You will pay. Packers Sanitation Services faces the next biggest fine of $ 286,720.

Authorities said the proposed penalties occurred after the Freezer at the Foundation Food Group factory broke down on January 28, releasing colorless, odorless liquid nitrogen into the air and expelling oxygen from the room.

Authorities said three of the factory maintenance workers who had not been trained on the fatal effects of nitrogen exposure entered the freezer and were quickly overcome. All three died soon.

Other workers also entered the room and were defeated again. Two of those workers died soon, and a sixth died on their way to the hospital. At least 12 people were injured, officials said.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office has identified the six dead workers as Jose DeJesus Elias-Cabrera, 45 years old. Corey Alan Murphy, 35 years old. Nelly Perez-Rafael, 28; Saulo Suarez-Bernal, 41; Victor Verez, 38; and Edgar Vera-Garcia, 28 years old.

Their death brought deep pain and sorrow to Gainesville. The world’s self-proclaimed chicken capital.. 43,000 cities make up about 40 percent of Latin Americans.

“We were able to completely avoid six deaths and at least 12 injuries,” Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “The bottom line is that you shouldn’t go to work wondering if you’ll be home at the end of the day. The Ministry of Labor is committed to holding the villains accountable.”

Sherry Anand, a lawyer representing some of the workers in the factory during the nitrogen leak, said the fines OSHA could impose. There is an upper limit..

“Overall, OSHA has done everything they have the legal capacity to do,” she said. “We need Congress to act and raise penalties for willful violations.”

Within 15 business days of receiving the citation and penalties, the company will comply, request an informal meeting with the agency’s area director, or challenge the findings before becoming independent. Occupational Safety and Health Review Committee..

The Foundation Food Group stated that the citation does not directly address the cause of liquid nitrogen leaks.

“FFG will challenge these aspects of OSHA citations, which it believes are not justified or supported by facts,” the company said in a statement. “FFG will also work with the rest of the world, including the US Chemical Safety Commission, to identify and correct the root cause and ensure that employees are protected in the workplace.”

In a statement, the company said the freezer had a single safety device to measure liquid nitrogen levels. The device, the bubbler tube, was bent to prevent proper measurement of liquid nitrogen levels, or to cut off supply if the levels were too high, the company said.

However, OSHA does not issue a single quote to deal with bent tubes or prevent another release of liquid nitrogen from many liquid nitrogen freezers used nationwide in ice cream shops and meat processing facilities. Tato, Foundation food.

The company added, “We take safety seriously and deeply regret the accident.”

The woman who answered the phone at FS Group said no one could comment.

Packers Sanitation Service said no employees were in the factory at the time of the leak and “was not involved in this tragic incident at all.”

“We are not involved in the operation or mechanical maintenance of this equipment,” the company said. “We cooperated with OSHA during the review, but we do not fundamentally agree with these citations and will challenge them.”

With 70 production facilities and approximately 5,400 employees in North and South America, Messer is considering a quote and said, “I have no further comments at this time.”

The company, in collaboration with federal agents, said it “learned from investigating this tragic incident and promised to play a role in preventing its recurrence.”

Messer said it recommends safety measures to control nitrogen hazards, such as air monitoring and the use of personal oxygen detectors for employees who handle nitrogen indoors.

As the lawsuits for illegal death and personal injury were filed, the company “cannot comment further at this time, but is working on a common goal and investigation to identify the cause of this tragic accident. “

Proposed $ 1 million fine for nitrogen leak killing 6 people in poultry factory

Source link Proposed $ 1 million fine for nitrogen leak killing 6 people in poultry factory

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