WAKEFIELD, Nebraska | The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Michael Foods Egg Processing in Wakefield with six safety violations totaling $188,464 in proposed penalties as a result of an investigation into a fatal incident that occurred at the plant in September. 

On Sept. 26, an employee suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by a dock leveler. Local authorities did not identify the victim.

According to a Department of Labor news release issued Friday, the OSHA investigation found the dock leveler had been undergoing maintenance and the employer had failed to properly brace it during the maintenance procedures, causing it to fall onto the employee, who was assisting with the maintenance. 

OSHA cited Michael Foods with six violations, which include exposing employees to hazards associated with failing to properly brace equipment during servicing and maintaining, failing to develop written and effective training and procedures for lockout-tagout and failing to conduct periodic reviews of the company's lockout-tagout safety procedures. OSHA also found violations relating to electrical and arc flash hazards.

A Michael Foods spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon. 

The largest individual violation, which carries a fine of $129,336, stated the employer's failure to conduct the annual periodic review of the written lockout-tagout procedures for the dock leveler was a "contributing factor that resulted in the death of an employee." 

"Employers are required to train workers on safety practices and use appropriate hazard controls to ensure their safety," Jeff Funke, OSHA's Omaha Area Office director, said in the news release. "Proper safety controls and training can prevent fatalities like this from occurring." 

According to OSHA, lockout-tagout refers to practices and procedures that protect employees from the unexpected starting of equipment, or the "release of hazardous energy" during maintenance.

The company now has 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, contest the findings or request an informal conference with the OSHA area director. 

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