Beet Processing Plant Never Inspected Prior to Fatal Accident
About the Lovell Sugar Plant Accident
On January 4th, 2014, in Cheyenne, Wyo., Anfesa Galaktionoff, 28, fell through a door opening and into sugar beet-processing equipment. Galaktionoff died from injuries sustained in the fall.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is supposed to ensure workplace safety, however, they possess no record of ever inspecting the beet-processing plant. Western Sugar was inspected after the death of Galaktionoff and was charged with $71,000 in fines and 12 citations for failing to implement OSHA safety standards. Mick Finn, an agency lawyer, said that no records of inspection of the facility were conducted in the last five years before Galaktionoff’s death. While Western Sugar has been hit with numerous citations at its facilities, the citations didn’t trigger an inspection at the Lovell plant. Last July Western Sugar was charged $117,250 in fines after a January 2013 inspection at a Billings plant. The safety violations were charges of unguarded elevated platforms and horizontal shafting.
Western Sugar was formed in 2002 and is comprised of 1,400 grower-owners in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska. The Western Sugar Cooperative’s beet processing plant is located in Lovell. The Lovell plant employs 50 people and adds 70 seasonal workers during winter beet-harvest months.
Wyoming is ranked among the top states with workplace fatalities with 12.2 fatalities per 100,000 workers. The union’s executive secretary in Wyoming, Kim Floyd, said that she wasn’t surprised that the state had not inspected the Lovell plant because the department does not have enough inspectors to look at every plant.