The Western Sugar Cooperative is based in Denver, but is a cooperative with members in four states. Since 2008, employees with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have conducted approximately 16 inspections of some of the company’s locations and found 30 violations. When a worker was fatally injured at work in one of the company’s processing plants, an investigation revealed 12 violations, which resulted in citations being issued and fines in the amount of $44,500, which the company reportedly agreed to pay.
The accident occurred in Jan. 2014. There was reportedly a floor panel left out of place through which a 28-year-old woman fell. She suffered fatal injuries when she fell through the open grate in the floor into some equipment used in beet processing.
As it turns out, none of the inspections conducted at the Wyoming locations were at the Lovell plant, which is where this accident took place. Apparently, Wyoming has a high rate of work-related fatalities when compared to national averages. For example, in 2012, out of every 100,000 workers, there were 12.2 fatalities.
In response to the recent death, Denver’s Western Sugar agreed to conduct safety training with all of its workers and conduct its own safety inspections. The results of those inspections will be submitted to state officials periodically. Unfortunately, this all comes too late for the woman who was fatally injured at work. Her family has still lost a loved one. The workers’ compensation benefits to which they may be entitled will not bring her back, but they may help with the financial impact of her death.
Source: CBS Denver, “Denver-Based Company Fined $7,000 For Death At Wyoming Plant“, Dec. 1, 2014