Michael Foods Inc., and egg processing plant located in Wakefield, Nebraska, was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for multiple workplace safety violations after an employee was tragically killed after being struck by a dock leveler. A dock leveler is used to allow forklifts and other heavy equipment loaders to travel back and forth between a trailer and a loading station.
During the investigation, OSHA inspectors found that while one of the dock levelers was receiving maintenance, the company failed to brace it properly. Due to the improper support of the dock leveler during maintenance, the contraption fell onto one of the employees who was assisting its repair. The immense weight of the dock leveler was too much for the employee’s body to withstand, resulting in a fatal outcome.
OSHA cited the company for several violations including the failure to develop effective training methods for lockouts and failure to conduct recurring reviews of their lockout safety methods. Michael Foods Inc. was also cited for exposing its workers to dangerous conditions related to its failure to correctly support heavy equipment during maintenance. Flash and electrical hazards were also found unattended to during the investigation.
As a result of the investigation, the company now faces $188,464 in projected penalties. According to Jeff Funke, OSHA’s Omaha Area Office Director, “Employers are required to train workers on safety practices, and use appropriate hazard controls to ensure their safety. Proper safety controls and training can prevent fatalities like this from occurring.”
Michael Foods Inc. has 15 business days to respond to these citations. Their response will either be compliance or contest.
The importance of following all of OSHA’s workplace safety regulations is second to none. If these large corporations would increase their efforts to properly follow these regulations, injuries and deaths could be prevented, lawsuits relating to workplace safety would be decreased, and money would be saved. Unfortunately, not all decision-makers in these companies see it that way. Many of them are focused solely on doing whatever it takes to cut costs and increase profits.