Case Study on Kissimmee Meat & Produce - Why Implementing Worker Safety Measures is Critical?

Worker encountering accident at warehouse due to lack of safety measures

Workplace accidents are a daily occurrence across various industries and encompass a range of hazards, with slips, falls and trips being the most common cause of preventable workplace accidents. Let's look at the statistics related to workplace accidents to gain a deeper understanding of its real-life impact.

  • Annually, about 4.1 million workers in the United States face workplace injuries and illnesses, with a rate of 4.4 cases per 100 full-time workers.
  • Approximately 2 million workers are acutely injured while performing their jobs.

The critical aspect of fall protection is reinforced, considering the recent OSHA report published in October 2023 regarding a tragic incident involving a fatal fall due to the use of a faulty ladder.

Uncovering the Tragedy at Kissimmee Meat & Produce Inc.

In May 2023, tragedy struck Kissimmee Meat & Produce Inc., when a 65-year-old clerk lost their life due to a preventable incident involving a defective ladder. The investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revealed that this unfortunate event could have been avoided had the proper safety procedures been followed.

Incident Overview: Tragedy at Kissimmee Meat & Produce Inc.

The employee fell approximately 9 feet while attempting to retrieve merchandise from the second tier of a storage rack in the store's warehouse, as the ladder being used rolled out of place. OSHA's findings indicate that the company violated several safety standards.

  • Allowing workers to utilize modified ladders, putting them at risk of falling.
  • Allowing the use of damaged ladders without conducting necessary inspections to identify potential hazards and modifications that could lead to employee injuries.
  • Exposing workers to a 9-foot fall hazard by permitting the use of rolling ladders without secure locking systems and proper training on their safe use.
  • Subjecting workers to 7-foot fall hazards when attempting to retrieve merchandise without adequate fall protection.
  • Failing to maintain clear emergency exits, obstructing them with carts, ladders, equipment, and pallets.
  • Storing pallets of material in front of main breaker panels, posing a serious fire hazard.
  • Leaving fire extinguishers unmarked, thereby exposing workers to additional fire hazards.
  • Failing to securely stack boxes of merchandise, thereby putting workers at risk of being struck by falling objects.
  • Failing to provide essential training and certification for employees operating forklifts.

OSHA Response

As a result of these serious violations, OSHA cited the employer for a total of 11 infractions and proposed penalties amounting to $95,315.

OSHA Area Director Danelle Jindra in Tampa, Florida, emphasized, "Employers bear the responsibility of ensuring that the equipment their workers use is both safe and in proper working order. Regrettably, Kissimmee Meat & Produce fell short of meeting this crucial responsibility, and it tragically cost someone their life."

Earlier in the year 2023, OSHA announced that its powered industrial trucks standard (29 CFR 1910.178) has made it to the list of its top 10 most frequently cited standards. This standard holds the fifth position, having been cited 2,561 times in fiscal year 2023.

In addition, OSHA's construction industry ladders standard (29 CFR 1926.1053) ranks as the OSHA’s third most cited standard. Kissimmee Meat & Produce was cited for violations of the general industry ladders standard (29 CFR 1910.23), and for a violation of the general industry fall protection standard (29 CFR 1910.28). It's worth noting that the construction industry fall protection standard (29 CFR 1926.501) has remained the agency’s most cited standard for 13 consecutive years.

OSHA introduced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) aimed at enforcing and raising awareness about fall hazards across all industries.

Kissimmee Meat & Produce was also cited by OSHA for blocked electrical panels and emergency exit routes, as well as improperly stacked merchandise—these are common violations that the agency frequently identifies in retail establishments.

Developing an Effective Action Plan

It is unquestionably evident that the gaps in safety protocols, whether in the workplace or public spaces, have paved the way for unfortunate incidents to occur. Taking immediate action to prevent future tragedies. This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of adhering to safety standards and regulations rigorously.

  • Thorough Safety Assessment: Employers’ first step is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of existing safety measures, leaving no stone unturned in identifying areas that require improvement.
  • Implementing Necessary Enhancements: Once the weaknesses are identified in safety protocols, employers’ must act swiftly to implement essential enhancements. This proactive approach aims to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Safety Training and Certification

We strongly encourage every individual, whether an employee or employer, to prioritize strict compliance with safety standards, as outlined by the OSHA. To support this commitment, we offer a compelling suite of OSHA-compliant safety training courses for both the General Industry and the Construction Industry. Our training solutions also cover the OSHA/NFPA 70E Electrical Safety series.

Time is of the essence, and we urge employers to enroll employees in the relevant training courses without delay. Remember that a life lost is irreplaceable. By equipping workers with the relevant knowledge and skills provided in our various training courses, we are geared to contribute to a safer work environment for every individual in occupational settings.


OSHA News Release – Region 4. (2023, October 27). US Department of Labor cites Kissimmee grocery store after investigation finds 65-year-old worker’s employer could have prevented fatal fall. Website. https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/region4/10272023

Bloomberg Law Automation. (2023, October 27). Florida Grocery Store Fined for Worker’s Fatal Fall from Ladder. Website. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/safety/florida-grocery-store-fined-for-workers-fatal-fall-from-ladder

U.S. Department of Labor. (2023, October 27). US Department of Labor cites Kissimmee grocery store after investigation finds 65-year-old worker’s employer could have prevented fatal fall. Website. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20231027

Published on: March 29, 2024