Peanut Plant Fined After Worker Death

An Edenton peanut plant was scheduled to meet with state labor officials today to discuss a $28,000 fine.

Seabrook Ingredients was also given five serious citations by the North Carolina Department of Labor after Steven Phelps died back in November. At the time police said the 25-year-old man's safety harness became entangled in machinery.

The citations say the company allowed employees to clean equipment that had unguarded moving parts without first locking out the equipment.

The state says Phelps was cleaning out a 5,000 gallon stainless steel tank when his safety device became wrapped around the unguarded shaft of the drive motor, which was still running.

Seabrook is a peanut processing plant. Their website says the Edenton plant does peanut dry roasting, peanut extracts & peanut butter.


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  • by Silent on Mar 10, 2011 at 06:12 AM
    This is young was a hard worker. He trusted that the people around him knew what they were doing. He was eager to work and have benefits. As the Truth stated it is some of the employees responsibility, but ultimately the responsibility falls on the company and the supervisor to make sure all emplyees are proerly trained and that all procedures are being followed. I bet we all go to work everyday and watch some procedur3e not being followed. Please do not blame this young man. I know him personally and all he wanted to do was help his mother and take care of his daughter. He was so happy to have a full time job with benefits and to be a productive part of the community he lived in. Silent
  • by Repub Location: Edenton on Mar 2, 2011 at 07:19 AM
    This is why you need aunion guy dies and they fine 28,000 NC worst right to work state in country
  • by J Location: Edenton on Mar 1, 2011 at 04:21 PM
    Get the full story....the guy had only been employed there for a few weeks. There was only one supervisor that was responsible for the lock out of the equipment...no one else there was qualified to take care of that procedure. The supervisor was nowhere near the scene of the accident. Know the full scoop, before you go running off at the mouth about the person that died being responsible. He was a young man, with a small child, needing a job......Seabrook is well known to take short cuts, and to only care about getting the job done......employees do not matter. This kid was put in a position that he should not have been put in, without an experienced person with him. It's time that big corporate heads take the responsibility for the well being of their employees.
  • by clint on Mar 1, 2011 at 12:11 PM
    Sounds like safety equipment may be what got him killed. Safety is everyones business. You have to look out for yourself as well as those around you. Not bustin on this poor guy at all, just sayin. Many OSHA rules are out of line stupid though. I'd like to see what the "serious" violations were. Probably wasn't much to it according to the size of the fine. With a guy dying on the job you know they went through the place with a fine tooth comb.
  • by THE TRUTH Location: TARBORO on Mar 1, 2011 at 12:04 PM
    ULTIMATELY IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WORKER TO DOUBLE CHECK AND MAKE SURE THE EQUIPMENT IS LOCKED OUT """"PRIOR"""" TO WORKING ON IT. ALL ENERGY SOURCES SHOULD BE CHECKED. IT IS HOWEVER THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FACILITY TO PROPERLY HAVE TRAINED THE EMPLOYEE. ENERGY SOURCES ARE ANYTHING FROM AIR, ELECTRIC, PNUEMATIC,MECHANICAL.
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Mar 1, 2011 at 11:53 AM
    So $28k is what a young man's life is worth these days? It seems not ALL prices are going up. At that price what's the sense of having any safety precautions, equipment or procedures. That kind of thing is expensive! It looks like, however, at Seabrook Ingredients life is cheap.
  • by Fact Bringer Location: Greenville on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:14 AM
    I hope the fine was sizeable. It's 2011, workers shouldn't be dieing in manufacturing facilities.
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