KISSIMMEE, FL – Federal workplace safety investigators have determined that the operator of a Kissimmee grocery store could have prevented a 65-year-old clerk’s fatal fall from a defective ladder by following required safety procedures.A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the May 2023 incident at Kissimmee Meat & Produce Inc. found that the employee fell about 9 feet when a ladder rolled as they retrieved merchandise from the second tier of a storage rack in the store’s warehouse. OSHA determined the companyviolated safety standards by doing the following: Allowing workers to use modified ladders, exposing them to fall hazards.Permitting employees to use ladders in disrepair and without conducting an inspection to identify damage and modifications that could cause employee injuries.Exposing workers to a 9-foot fall hazard by allowing workers to use rolling ladders without locking systems in place and training on how to use the ladder safely.Subjecting workers to 7-foot fall hazards when they tried to retrieve merchandise without fall protection.Failing to keep emergency exits clear of obstructions, such as carts, ladders, equipment and pallets. Storing pallets of material in front of main breaker panels. Exposing workers to fire hazards, by leaving fire extinguishers unmarked. Failing to stack boxes of merchandise safely, exposing workers to struck-by hazards.Failing to provide powered industrial vehicle training and certification for employees operating forklifts. OSHA cited the employer for 11 serious violations and proposed $95,315 in penalties. “Employers are required to make sure that the equipment workers use is serviceable and safe,” said OSHA Area Director Danelle Jindra in Tampa, Florida. “Kissimmee Meat & Produce failed to meet their responsibility and it cost someone their life.”The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.
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