Area farm fined for workplace death
EYOTA — An Eyota-area farm has been fined $26,750 by the state for its part in the death of a worker last winter.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry said Schoenfelder Farms LLP didn't provide an employee with working conditions "free from recognized hazards." On Feb. 17, that led to the death of Carlos Ramirez-Perez, 29, who was exposed to a lethal amount of hydrogen sulfide.
The department also said in its report, issued this week, that the farm didn't have a written workplace accident reduction program, didn't have right-to-know training for those routinely exposed to hazardous substances and didn't keep a log of work-related illnesses. The first three citations are listed as serious.
Schoenfelder Farms has paid $6,750 so far, said Jenny O'Brien, a labor department spokeswoman. It has five years to pay the entire penalty, and the department commissioner could say the business doesn't have to pay the rest if it's too great a financial burden.
Ramirez-Perez was found unconscious in a work room near a barn, according to the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department. He was taken outside and given CPR, and someone called 911. Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Eyota firefighters took air samples in the barn and found high levels of carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide in two wings of the barn. It is believed that Ramirez-Perez was working in the east wing when he went into the work room between the two wings.