Two companies cited for worker's death in shucking machine

The federal government said Monday that it has proposed fines against two companies in a worker's death at a New Bedford seafood processing plant.

Victor Gerena, 35, was killed on Jan. 16, when he became entangled in the parts of a shellfish shucking machine while he was cleaning it.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed a fine of $35,410 against Sea Watch International, where the accident happened.

OSHA said Sea Watch was cited for seven serious safety violations, including failure to implement basic safety procedures to protect workers who service or maintain machines.

OSHA also proposed a $9,000 fine against Workforce Unlimited, a Rhode Island-based company that supplies temporary workers to Sea Watch.

The federal government said Sea Watch employs 15 full-time workers at its New Bedford plant and that 185 of the workers at the plant were temporary employees supplied by Workforce Unlimited.

The companies have 15 days to accept or contest the penalties.

A lawyer for Workforce Unlimited said the company has not yet been notified by OSHA and could not comment.