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General Mills fined $850 following worker’s death

By Oliver Nieburg , 22-May-2012

General Mills fined $850 following worker’s death

Food giant General Mills has been fined $850 for a safety violation at a plant in the US where a worker was killed last year.

In October last year, Gary Lawce, 53, died at the company’s plant in Lodi after he was crushed while trying to stop a moving railcar.

Inspection and citation

California’s Department of Industrial Relations recently sent Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) investigators to the plant and found General Mills had failed to inspect and maintain a shuttlewagon that Lawce had been trying to connect to the railcar at the time of his death.

Department of Industrial Relations issued a citation to the company related to the servicing of multi-/single piece wheel rims on the shuttlewaggon.

The company has been fined $850 for the violation.

Company ‘acknowledges’ citation

Bridget Christenson, corporate public relations at General Mills, said in a statement to BakeryAndSnacks.com: “While we acknowledge the citation and this unfortunate incident, we remain committed to providing a safe workplace for all employees.”

The plant in Lodi manufactures General Mills’ Big G cereal, meals, and baking products and employs around 500 people.

General Mills operations

In August 2010, another General Mills worker lost his life at the company’s plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to OSHA’s Weekly Fatality/Catastrophe Report at the time.

General Mills is the maker of cereal brands including Cheerios, Wheaties and Lucky Charms.

It also has operations in ready meals through its Old El Paso brand and more recently gained a foothold in the yoghurt market through its acquisition of Yoplait for $1.2bn in July last year from PAI Partners and Sodiaal.

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