WASHINGTON – In its second notice from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2021, Foundation Food Group Inc. received 23 safety and health violations following an ammonia leak on March 11. 

The regulatory agency proposed $154,674 in penalties from the incident.

OSHA stated in its findings that Foundation Food Group failed to:

  • Guard horizontal shafts on conveyors, which exposed workers to caught-in hazards.
  • Provide adequate training and ensure workers used locks to isolate hazardous energy while servicing conveyors.
  •  Label electrical breakers, cover unused openings in electrical boxes, and use electrical devices as designed, which exposed workers to electrical-shock hazards.
  • Provide fall protection while working from equipment at heights over 4 feet.
  • Require employees use eye protection while working with compressed air.
  • Provide adequate hearing protection, testing, and training for employees exposed to high levels of noise.
  • Maintain drainage in areas of wet processes, exposing employees to slip hazards.

This incident came around two months after a liquid nitrogen leak killed six people working at a Prime-Pak Foods processing plant in Gainesville, Ga.

During July 2021, FFG and three other companies were cited for 59 proposed violations and a combined $998,637 in fines following the first OSHA investigation.

"There is no situation where employees should be expected to risk serious injury or death, especially on the heels of a tragic incident that took the lives of six co-workers," said Jim Frederick, acting assistant secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. "Foundation Food Group has again flouted their responsibility to assess workplace hazards and ensure measures are taken to protect employees. This is unacceptable and OSHA will continue its mission to hold employers accountable."

Less than a week ago, Gold Creek Foods announced that it acquired Foundation Food Group.

For this latest incident, FFG can request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or comply within 15 business days.