Fines appealed after nitrogen kills 6 at Georgia plant

Crime & Safety

In this Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 file photo, Hall County firefighters enter a back door at Foundation Food Group in Gainesville, Ga., the day after six people were killed following a liquid nitrogen leak at the plant. Firefighters were called to the plant again on Thursday, March 11 after concerns over a possible ammonia leak, but firefighters and plant officials say no harmful levels of ammonia were found. Autopsy results released Friday, March 12 show all six workers killed in January died of asphyxiation because of liquid nitrogen exposure. (Scott Rogers/The Times via AP, File)

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Three of four companies are appealing federal workplace safety fines following a January liquid nitrogen leak that killed six workers at a Georgia poultry processing plant.

The U.S. Department of Labor says plant owner Foundation Food Group is contesting citations proposed in July. So are Packers Sanitation Services Ltd., which provided cleaning services, and FS Group Inc. which helped build the freezer line that malfunctioned.

The Labor Department says the American branch of German company Messer, which made the freezer system, made an informal settlement with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Aug. 13.

No further details have been released. OSHA announced almost $1 million in fines against the companies, saying the deaths were preventable.

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