NE Egg Processing Facility Cited After Employee Fatality

WAKEFIELD, NE ‒ The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Michael Foods Inc., an egg processing facility based in Wakefield, Nebraska, for multiple safety violations after an employee suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by a dock leveler. A dock leveler is a device used to allow a forklift to travel between a loading dock and a trailer.

One of the employer’s dock levelers was undergoing maintenance. OSHA investigators determined that the employer failed to properly brace the dock leveler during the maintenance procedures, causing it to fall onto an employee who was assisting in the maintenance.

OSHA cited the company for the following violations:

  • Exposing employees to hazards associated with failing to properly brace equipment during servicing and maintaining;
  • Failing to develop written and effective training and procedures for lockout/tagout; and
  • Failing to conduct periodic reviews of the company’s lockout/tagout safety procedures.

It also found violations relating to electrical and arc flash hazards.  Michael Foods Inc. faces $188,464 in proposed penalties.

Jeff Funke, OSHA’s Omaha Area Office Director, said, “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.”

OSHA’s most recent dock-related accident report, which includes accounts of workers fracturing their legs after being struck by dock plates, getting crushed between a truck and a dock, sustaining fractures after falling off the dock, driving forklifts right off loading docks, and worse.

Most of the time, OSHA says the culprits in such situations are forklifts running off docks, products falling on employees, or equipment striking someone—all of which are avoidable with good safety policies (for example, no “dock jumping” or backing up a forklift right to the dock’s edge), equipment and modern technology.