Worker Hurt after Fall into Sauerkraut Vat

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 @ 02:04 PM gHale

A Wisconsin food cannery faces $143,550 in safety fines after a 35-year-old worker fell more than 17 feet into an empty sauerkraut vat and broke multiple bones, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The inspection that followed was the fourth time since 2011 OSHA cited GLK Foods LLC for failing to protect workers from fall and machine hazards.

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GLK Foods is the world’s largest sauerkraut manufacturer. Its facilities in Bear Creek, WI, and Shortsville, New York process 140,000 tons of raw cabbage annually.

On April 13, OSHA issued one willful, two repeat, five serious and one-other-than serious safety violations to the Bear Creek cannery after the Oct. 27 injury inspection. The agency found similar violations at the facility in 2013 and 2015.

“If GLK Foods had fixed safety discrepancies found in previous OSHA inspections this man’s injury would likely have been prevented,” said Robert Bonack, OSHA’s area director in Appleton. “In 2014, there were more than 86,300 job related injuries and illnesses recorded for Wisconsin workers. Too many workers suffer life-altering injuries because employers fail to follow common sense safety procedures and regulations to protect them on the job.”

Inspectors found GLK Foods failed to:
• Protect employees from falls while working on top of cabbage fermentation vats and elevated platforms by providing fall arrest equipment and installing guard railings
• Develop procedures and implement permit confined space requirements including testing atmospheric conditions and providing emergency and rescue equipment
• Install safeguards on moving conveyor parts
• Keep floor holes covered to prevent slips and falls
• Use locking devices to prevent unintentional operation of conveyors

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