Saturday, November 5, 2016

Worker killed after an 80-pound metal support beam fell on top of him at Frenchman Valley Produce Inc. in Imperial, NE

UPDATE: OSHA Investigates death after Metal Beam fell on a worker in Wallace, NE

By Amy Kauffman, OSHA Press Release
Updated: Thu 9:04 PM, Nov 03, 2016

WALLACE, Neb. (KNOP) - UPDATE: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation after learning that a 56-year-old employee of Frenchman Valley Produce Inc. has died from head injuries received when he was struck by a support beam, on a job site near Wallace, Nebraska, last week. His employer failed to report the death to OSHA as required.
Preliminary reports indicate the worker was attempting to move an aeration pipe that was being lifted by a chain attached to the forks of a skid steer on Oct. 24, 2016, when he was struck by the support beam. He was part of a crew installing a conveyor system to move potatoes from the storage area into haul trucks when the fatal incident occurred.

The employee was hospitalized and is believed to have passed away from his injuries on Oct. 27, 2016.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the employee who lost his life. OSHA will conduct a thorough investigation to determine if any violations of OSHA safety standards contributed to the incident,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s Area Director in Omaha. “Frenchman Valley Produce notified OSHA of the occupational injury but failed to make notification of the fatality, as required.”

OSHA also has specific standards that require employers to report the death of an employee within eight hours. The agency also requires that inpatient hospitalizations, and injuries such as an amputation or the loss of an eye be reported to the agency within 24-hours. Even when a hospitalization has been reported, the company must report the subsequent death of an employee within the eight hour time frame.

An employer can report an injury or fatality using one of the following methods:

-By telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office that is nearest to the site of the incident.
-By telephone to the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).
-By electronic submission using the reporting application located on OSHA's public Web site at

During the inspection, OSHA will examine safety procedures in use on the job site. OSHA’s standards require the use of head protection and for the employer to inspect lifting chains prior to material handling operations that may expose employees to overhead hazards.

To be more effective in preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities, employers and workers need to use a range of tools and strategies. These include education, compliance assistance and fair and strong enforcement.

ORIGINAL STORY: We are learning more details about a worker involved accident yesterday in Wallace.

Deputies say a metal beam weighing 75 to 80 pounds fell on top of a worker while he was loading vegetables at Frenchman produce.

LCSO says Michael Nelson of North Platte had a laceration on his head and was given CPR on the scene.

He was first transported to Great Plains Health then was life-flighted to CHI Good Samaritan in Kearney.

Deputies say he was in stable condition before he was life-flighted.

Hospital officials in Kearney say he is in the ICU but would not release his condition.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident as an accident. 


The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a southwestern Nebraska produce company after learning one of the company's workers was killed on the job last week.

The North Platte Telegraph reported last week that 56-year-old Michael Nelson was hospitalized Oct. 24 after being hit in the head by a metal beam while helping move potatoes at his job at Frenchman Valley Produce in Wallace.

OSHA says it learned that Nelson died from head injuries on Oct. 27.

The agency said Frenchman Valley did not report his death to OSHA as required.
A woman who answered the phone at Frenchman Valley Produce in Imperial said no one was available early Thursday afternoon to comment. She refused to take a message.