OSHA Cites Pearson Farms After Employee Death

OSHA has cited the Georgia-based peach farm $128,004 after an employee suffered fatal injuries at the facility.

OSHA has cited Pearson Farms LLC for safety violations after an employee died at the farm’s post-harvest operations facility in Fort Valley, Georgia. The farm is facing $128,0004 in penalties.

Francisco Rodrigues, a 56-year-old employee for Pearson, died in August after being hit in the head by a pallet on a forklift, reports say. Investigators found that the employee was caught between the load on a forklift and a metal railing while performing maintenance. He died less than an hour after the accident at nearby hospital from blunt-force trauma to the head, one article noted.

OSHA also cited the employer for exposing workers to fall, chemical and amputation hazards. The employer has also failed to: provide an early warning system to detect anhydrous ammonia leaks; develop and implement an emergency response plan; adequately train workers to respond to potential release of anhydrous ammonia; provide effective machine guarding; and develop, implement, and utilize lockout/tagout procedures.

“Employers must assess their workplaces to identify hazards and take corrective actions to eliminate serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Condell Eastmond, in Atlanta-East. “A comprehensive safety and health program should be implemented to ensure controls are in place to protect workers.”

OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks—Forklifts webpage provides information on forklift hazards and solutions, and the applicable forklift use standards.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

You can read the full, official news release here.

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