Produce Company Fined in Worker Death

McAllen, TX- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined  $6,148 against Plateros Produce for the November poisoning death of a 32-year-old worker.

The worker, Luis Reymundo Pierda Martinez, passed away on Nov. 18 possibly due to the inhalation of aluminum phosphate and pesticide vapors, according to OSHA. The exact cause of Martinez’ death is pending toxicology tests.

The incident is reported saying the man was placing aluminum phosphate tablets and pesticide fumigators throughout the warehouse on Nov. 18. He then went to sleep at the warehouse and employees returning on Monday found him dead in the office.

The federal agency issued the two fines on May 14. OHSA fined Plateros Produce $4,048 for an initial penalty and $2,100 for a current penalty, according to the agency’s records. That being said, OSHA still categorizes this as pending, and is not closed.

Our thoughts are with Martinez’s family and loved ones. Tragic incidents like this remind us of the importance of education, training, and preventative safety measures companies and warehouses must take to save lives.osha produce fine

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Electrocution Death in NY Aluminum Factory

Scriba, NY — Peter Clark Jr., 54, of Tully, who died while working at the Novelis Inc. aluminum factory in Oswego County on the morning of May 15th, appears to have been accidentally electrocuted, according to local deputies.

He was pronounced dead at the scene after being electrocuted while working as a contractor at the Scriba factory, said the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office.  The deadly accident is being investigated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), Ridley Electric, and the Novelis plant all together, as parts of the accident remain unclear and risks and causes are not yet publicized.

The Novelis plant in Oswego County is the county’s largest manufacturer and employs over 1,100 people. Within the 1.7-million-square-foot facility, workers make rolled aluminum that is used in vehicle body panels for automakers like Ford.

While details of the aluminum factory accident remain unclear, electrocution can be caused by a number of risks and inefficiencies.

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Seven Years Later: The Rana Plaza Factory Collapse

Savar Upazila, Bangladesh- In 2013 of this week, the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,100 garment workers, primarily young women, and injuring 2,500 others.

It was the largest industrial accident since 1984, when a gas leak at a factory in Bhopal, India, killed more than 3,500 people and exposed thousands more to toxic fumes. 

Images of the Rana Plaza collapse caught the world’s attention and became a catalyst for corporate action on factory safety.  

This led over 220 international brands to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a unique binding agreement that set up a monitoring and remediation system in the factories where the mostly European brands sourced from. Other brands, primarily from North America, joined the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Today, more of those buyers recognize that factory safety is important and that they will be held to account, and are being more transparent about publicly listing where they source their products. 

Factories covered by the Accord and the Alliance are safer in part because they underwent a series of inspections, had plans to fix the problems identified, and those that didn’t comply were not allowed to work with member companies.

During those inspections, a litany of problems were identified. These included structural flaws, blocked fire exits, and a lack of fire doors and proper fire alarm and sprinkler systems. About 84 percent of those problems at Accord factories have been addressed, and 90 percent of issues at Alliance factories have been remediated. The Accord terminated 96 of its roughly 800 suppliers, and the Alliance 168 of its roughly 2,000. Millions of workers have been trained on safety procedures and safety committees have been formed at many factories.

We do our part in furthering training, education, and prevention of such tragedies.

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At Hard Rock Hotel, OSHA cites ‘Willful’ and ‘Serious’ Safety Violations

New Orleans, LA-  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found numerous safety violations at the site of the 18-story Hard Rock Hotel construction site in New Orleans, which partially collapsed in October, killing three and injuring dozens.

The top floors of the high-rise building on the edge of the French Quarter collapsed unexpectedly on the morning of Oct. 12, sending debris cascading into the streets and injuring workers and bystanders. The bodies of two of the workers killed in the accident remain trapped in the rumble.

OSHA fined 11 contractors on the project for life-threatening violations, with the largest fines imposed against Heaslip Engineering. Heaslip Engineering, based in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, was found to have committed both “serious” and “willful” violations and was fined $154,214.

OSHA’s findings included that “floor beams on the 16th floor were under-designed in load capacity” and “structural steel connections were inadequately designed, reviewed or approved,” the latter a “willful” violation.hard rock hotel

OSHA defines a “serious” violation as one that could “cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm.” A “willful” violation is one where “the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”

Besides the 11 previously stated, other contractors working on the Hard Rock Hotel project were cited for safety violations that included a lack of training, not providing protective equipment and failing to keep exits clear.

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Two Fatalities in Last Month for Tyson Factories

Eufaula, AL- Within the last month, there have been two fatalities in Tyson factories within the United States. A worker died on March 2nd at a Keystone Foods chicken processing plant in Eufaula, AL while cleaning a piece of equipment.

Barbour County Coroner Chip Chapman said in the report that 39-year-old contractor Carlos Lynn became “caught in a pinch-point of the equipment,” and that the cause of death was a decapitation. The official told the broadcaster that the equipment involved in the incident was a chiller.

Tyson Foods, the owner of the plant, told WRBL that operations halted at the facility the day following the industrial accident.

“We’re investigating an accident at our Eufaula, AL facility yesterday that involved a worker employed by an outside contractor and will provide more information when we can,” Tyson Foods said in a statement printed by the station. “We’re grateful for the swift response and assistance of local emergency personnel.”

Another worker died in a Tyson plant March 23rd in Garden City, Kansas.

Deputies responded to the plant for a man not breathing. EMS transported the man, identified as 30-year-old Kendrick Gregory of Garden City, to the hospital where he died.

The Finney County Sheriff’s Office said their initial investigation showed that Gregory was doing maintenance on the harvest assembly line when he was pulled up by harness against a takeaway belt. Another co-worker was able to cut him free.

These two fatalities in Tyson factories could have potentially been prevented with proper and secure Lockout Tagout procedures. Lockout Tagout isolates and locks each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the startup of machinery or equipment that may result in injuring a worker.

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Garment Factory Fire in India Claims 7 Lives

Ahmedabad, India- Seven people reportedly died in a garment factory fire in India in February, according to reports from local news sources. On the Saturday night, the Nandan Denim factory in Ahmedabad caught fire, which raged through Sunday morning. According to a 2018/2019 annual report, the factory works with a number of major brands, including Ann Taylor, Zara, Ralph Lauren and Polo, and Target.

The Indian Express reports that the fire started in the shirting part of the factory, where there was no ventilation. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but police reportedly said that a preliminary probe revealed there was only one exit on the first floor, which was accessible only by a ladder, and there were no fire safety measures in place. A representative from the Labour and Employment Department said that the factory would be closed until further review of the safety initiatives in place.

While it’s rare, it’s not unheard of for garment workers to die while on the job. In December, a fire at a handbag factory in Delhi killed 43 workers, and the 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh killed over 1,000 garment workers. The Nandan factory has certifications from eco-friendly groups like the Better Cotton Initiative, Global Organic Textile Standard, and Oeko-Tex, though those primarily certify the safety of the chemicals used in manufacturing. Nandan’s annual report has a “Social, Health, and Safety” section that reads, “Our goal remains to achieve ‘zero fatality’ and we are committed to achieving this through the effective management of health and safety risks.” Police are still investigating the factors which led to the accident.

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Construction Accident Leaves One Dead, One Injured

Oklahoma City, OK- Officials say one person is dead following an construction accident in Oklahoma City.construction death

Around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, emergency crews were called to an industrial accident in the 8300 block of N. I-35 Service Rd. in Oklahoma City.

Initial reports indicated that two people were trapped after a scissor lift tipped over inside a nearby building.

Once emergency crews arrived on the scene, they realized that one person was dead and another was seriously injured after the scissor lift fell while approximately 40 feet in the air.

“Terrible incident. We see industrial accidents from time to time in our city,” Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson with the Oklahoma City Fire Department said. “Construction workers, they have dangerous jobs. Sometimes things happen, unfortunately.”

Proper worker training, OSHA compliance, and management training reduce industrial accidents on sites such as construction. The construction company in charge of the project is AC Owen Construction. The two people involved in the accident were subcontractors that work for Frazier Fire LLC.

“It’s just a big metal building. I’m not sure what it is, or what it’s going to be when it’s done,” Fulkerson said. “They were working inside the building when it occurred.” It’s not clear at this time what caused the lift to fall, or what the workers were doing at the time of the accident.

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Fatality in California Raisin Factory

Sanger,CA- A woman died after her hair and clothing got stuck while clearing debris on Friday from a raisin processing machine, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. The fatality from the incident happened at the Del Rey Packing Company’s dehydrator plant near Sanger, California.

The woman was identified as 33-year-old Yaneth Lopez Valladares.

Fresno Sheriff’s say Valladares got a piece of loose clothing caught in a machine used to process raisins.

The machine severely injured her, causing her to pass away at the scene as a result of the trauma she suffered, officials say.

Two other employees were nearby and immediately powered down the equipment and dialed 911. This was the woman’s second year working at this particular facility.

Valladares’s boss was too shaken and distraught to speak to us on camera, but he says his heart goes out to her family and friends.raisin factory fatality California

Cal OSHA is investigating the incident, which could take a few months to complete, and released this statement:

An employee working for a farm labor contractor named Blessed Harvest was working on a Stem Grading Line when their clothing got caught on a shaft to a cylinder that breaks up raisin bunches, causing the employee to strike their head.

They will also be looking to see if there were any violations at this facility and if proper training was given to employees.

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Worker Killed at Oregon Construction Site

oregon death construction Eugene, OR- Officials with Oregon Occupational Safety and Health are investigating a fatal accident that killed a worker Saturday morning at a Beltline construction site.

According to Eugene Springfield Fire, a worker in his early sixties was pinched between an excavator and a barrier near the Delta Highway and Beltline interchange just before 11 a.m. When first responders arrived, the worker had been freed and was transported to Riverbend hospital with “serious” injuries.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said the accident halted work on the project for some time.

According to officials, the worker was an employee of contractor Hamilton Construction. In a statement, the company confirmed the death and told KEZI 9 News, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers. We lost a great employee and friend.”

The company said that safety is it’s top priority and will cooperate with authorities to investigate the cause of the accident.

OSHA said it has 180 days to complete the investigation.

According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2018 there were nearly 5,000 public workplace deaths with over 1,000 of those being construction related — accounting for over 20 percent of workplace fatalities.

In Oregon, of 62 public workplace fatalities, 11 were in construction.

OSHA specifies four key dangers they coin the “fatal four” in construction;  falls, electrocution, being struck by an object, or getting caught in or between something. Training workers and management and meeting OSHA standards regarding the “fatal four” could potentially lead to more regulated and less fatal incidents.

According to ODOT, work is being done in the center median of the Beltline highway, closing center lanes in both directions throughout the weekend. Officials said lane closures are still expected to end by 6 a.m. Monday morning

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Worker Seriously Injured in Industrial Accident in Steel Mill

Gary, IN- A worker was seriously injured in an industrial accident at Gary Works Wednesday.

The steelworker suffered multiple injuries and was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in downtown Gary. Information on his condition was not immediately available but he is expected to survive.

“We had a worker that got seriously hurt with several injuries but none life-threatening,” United Steelworkers District 7 Director Mike Millsap said. “All I know is he is a maintenance technician and was working on (a blast furnace) and he got hit by something.”

U.S. Steel’s OSHA Recordable Incident Rate has been 0.14 per 200,000 hours so far this year, down from 0.17 in 2017.

steel mill industrial accident Though the United Steelworkers union and steelmakers have worked for years to prioritize workplace safety at the industrial mills, the hulking factories where metal is forged post many inherent hazards that include hot temperatures, catwalks over great heights, and moving equipment that weighs tons. Steelworker ranks as the sixth most deadly job nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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