Latino Worker Dies Following Exposure to Nitrogen in Tanker Truck

The accident occurred at Michael Foods' Big Red Farms facility in Wakefield, Neb.

OSHA announced an enforcement case against Michael Foods Inc. stemming from a Latino worker's death. The 23-year-old worker was found unresponsive in a tanker truck at Michael Foods Inc.'s Big Red Farms facility in Wakefield, Neb. He was conducting sampling of the tank, which contained egg products and nitrogen. OSHA has cited the company for five serious safety violations, including exposing employees to nitrogen hazards.

"Confined spaces put workers at risk for serious injury and illness from hazards, such as poor atmospheric quality," said Bonita Winingham, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "This tragedy could have been prevented had the employer implemented basic safety precautions associated with confined spaces and nitrogen exposure."

OSHA found that Michael Foods failed to prevent employees from entering permit-required confined spaces. The company did not ensure that emergency services were proficient in confined space rescues and that appropriate equipment for a confined space rescue could be used to perform one quickly. The company also did not train workers on the health hazards related to atmospheric chemicals in the workplace; failed to evaluate respiratory hazards for employees sampling from nitrogen-filled tanks; and did not ensure employees wore appropriate eye protection when exposed to corrosive liquids, according to OSHA.

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