Citing Cause

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We have new details on the operating conditions at the PictSweet plant in Bells, as investigators release their findings after a worker lost his life on the job. The food packaging plant has been under the microscope of federal and state safety inspectors since the death of John Woods nearly five months ago. TOSHA inspectors came in two days after the October 16 incident, and their scrutiny of the packing and processing lines found four serious violations. However, they cannot say with certainty that they contributed to Woods’ death. Belinda Bonds, Woods’ former girlfriend, says, “A day doesn’t go by without me thinking about John.” Bonds and Woods, 52, started their relationship about five years ago, right around the time he started at the PictSweet plant in Bells. Woods, a sanitation worker clocked in October 16 and never got the chance to clock out because, Bonds, says while he was cleaning a machine, his clothes got caught in it and pulled him in. Bonds, adds, “It’s just awful.” It is awful he died, Bonds, says, and it is awful what TOSHA found while investigating his death two days later. According to just released reports, they found $6,300 worth of violations. Number one, employee’s did not have the proper training when it came to cleaning equipment. Number two, they found employees not turning machines off before cleaning, and number three, machines were not being locked after they were turned off. The fourth violation was corrected on-site. Steve Hawkins, an Assistant Administrator with TOSHA, adds, “These were violations that we determined, alleged violations, that we determined at the time of inspection and are not necessarily directly related to the fatality.” Now, Pictsweet will not comment on the current violation, but did provide us paperwork stating Woods’ also suffered a diabetic episode at the time of the incident. However, Bonds says, the only thing she is sure of at this point is what is in black and white, these violations. Bonds, adds, “I hate that it happened to John for all the bad violations to come out you know.” Pictsweet has until next Thursday to contest the violations.

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