Fort Valley, GA – 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.
The employee, 56-year-old Francisco Rodrigues, who was performing maintenance on a conveyor system, was caught between the load on a forklift and a metal railing. He died less than an hour after the accident at a Macon hospital from blunt-force trauma to the head.
OSHA cited the employer for exposing employees to struck-by hazards.
The company was also cited for exposing workers to fall, chemical, and amputation hazards.
According to OSHA, the employer 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 a potential release of anhydrous ammonia;
- Provide effective machine guarding; and
- Develop, implement, and utilize lockout/tagout procedures.
Atlanta East OSHA Acting Area Director Condell Eastmond, said: “Employers must assess their workplaces to identify hazards and take corrective actions to eliminate serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses,” adding, “A comprehensive safety and health program should be implemented to ensure controls are in place to protect workers.”
OSHA offers training materials for forklift operators, the Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts webpage provides information on forklift hazards and solutions, and applicable standards on forklift use.