ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is actively investigating an incident at Foundation Food Group Services in Gainesville where a liquid nitrogen leak killed six workers on Jan. 28, 2021.
OSHA is also investigating reports of an ammonia release that occurred on March 11, 2021. Employees who work at the Gainesville site may contact OSHA at 770-493-7725 confidentially if they have facts that might assist the agency as it gathers information related to both incidents.
OSHA has received a complaint about the existence of hazards and will address the complaint in accordance with its complaint and referral processing policy. OSHA works closely with local community groups through its Compliance Assistance Specialists to build trusting relationships with workers and their families to ensure a thorough investigation.
“OSHA is working methodically to complete its investigation and we want to hear from Foundation Food Group Services’ employees to ensure safe operations for all who work there,” said Acting Area Director Condell Eastmond in the Atlanta-East office, which has jurisdiction over the inspection.
All workers, regardless of their immigration status, have legal rights to a safe workplace under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. An employee, or their representative, has the right to file a confidential safety and health complaint and request an OSHA workplace inspection if they believe hazardous conditions exist at their workplace or if they think an employer is not following OSHA standards. An employee should file the complaint as soon as possible after noticing the hazard. To make a confidential safety and health complaint, workers who feel they are working in unsafe working conditions can go online to OSHA’s website, www.osha.gov, or call OSHA’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for exercising their safety and health rights. Workers who feel their employer has retaliated against them may also file a complaint with OSHA. A whistleblower complaint needs to be filed within 30 days of when the retaliatory action occurs. In states with OSHA-approved State Plans, employees may file complaints with federal OSHA and with the State Plan. See the Whistleblower Protection Program website to learn more.