A Georgia poultry plant where six workers were killed continues to block government officials from investigating on-site
On January 28, a liquid nitrogen refrigerant line ruptured at the Foundation Food Group’s poultry plant in Gainesville, Georgia, killing six workers. Jose DeJesus Elias-Cabrera, Corey Alan Murphy, Nelly Perez-Rafael, Saulo Suarez-Bernal, Victor Vellez, and Edgar Vera-Garcia were asphyxiated and frozen. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, inspectors with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the plant, but suspected there were additional violations that needed to be addressed. Inspectors returned to the plant twice and were denied access, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. OSHA obtained a warrant and returned on April 22, but plant management shut down the processing line, preventing inspectors from gathering information. Attorneys for the Foundation Food Group say there was no probable cause for the warrant granted to OSHA and that the government’s inspection is “unnecessary and would be disruptive.” In the months since the accident, OSHA learned of another ammonia release that occurred on March 11, and court filings allege that Foundation Food Group has intimidated workers out of cooperating with the investigation. The battle for access to the plant continues.