Labor officials cite NC plant where 2 workers died

March 16, 2022 GMT

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina labor officials have cited an animal byproduct rendering plant for alleged safety violations after a September accident that killed two employees.

The N.C. Department of Labor cited Valley Proteins Inc. last week for five violations, including three serious violations with total penalties of $13,750, The Fayetteville Observer reported.

Bradley Zipp, 51, and Kevin Paul Hoeft, 48, were found dead at the Fayetteville facility Sept. 12 of asphyxiation from hydrogen sulfide inside a pet food pit basement. The colorless gas is produced naturally from decaying organic matter.

The men freed a jammed auger, but were exposed to fatal levels of hydrogen sulfide, the citations state. The men were found on the floor about two hours after they entered the pit and other employees told investigators the ventilation fan wasn’t running at the time, according to the medical examiner’s report.

During an occupational safety and health inspection in response to the deaths, the department found several violations resulting in the citations. The company can request an informal conference, file a notice of contest or pay the penalty.