OSHA eyes Hanover Foods, temp agency after man's death at plant

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

A man who died after falling into a bean hopper at food processing plant in Penn Township worked for a temporary staffing company, which is being investigated along with the plant.

Allan Offord, 59, of Hanover, was an employee of Axiom Staffing Group, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesperson Leni Fortson, who noted a probe focusing on Axiom and Hanover Foods, where Offord was working as a temporary employee when he died Tuesday, has been opened. 

Hanover Foods' Factory Outlet Store in Hanover Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

Axiom Staffing Group is a temporary employment agency with offices from Pennsylvania to Florida. A local office for the company is located in Hanover, although it is not known if Offord was hired from that office. The company provides temporary and temp-to-hire staffing services for various types of light industrial and administrative/clerical positions.  

An autopsy was performed on Offord Wednesday at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. Results of that autopsy are still pending results of additional testing. Once those results are received, the cause and manner in which Offord died will be updated. 

Offord was found by fellow employees at the Penn Township facility at about 2:40 a.m. Tuesday after he fell into a bean hopper, according to the York County Coroner’s Office. 

Authorities do not know how long he had been in the piece of machinery, the coroner's office reported. 

Offord was awake, standing up and attempting to walk after being removed from the machinery, according to the coroner's report. He passed out soon after, however, and did not respond to emergency first aid measures. He was pronounced dead at 3:52 a.m. by coroner's office staff.  

“We’re still in the process of determining the task he was performing,” Fortson said. “It’s part of the investigation.” 

In a written statement, Hanover Foods said it is cooperating with OSHA.  

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“Hanover Foods wants to extend its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the temporary worker that passed away early yesterday morning at its Hanover Canning Facility,” the company statement read. 

Fortson said OSHA has six months to complete its investigation.  

Hanover Foods' York County plant has been fined by OSHA for violations twice in the last five years. 

According to OSHA records, the Hanover Foods plant was fined more than $12,000 this April for an unspecified serious violation that occurred on Nov. 1, 2021. That issue was corrected by May and the fine lowered to $9,300. More specific information wasn't available. 

In 2019, Hanover Foods York County facility was fined just over $7,900 for an incident that occurred in December 2018. According to OSHA records, gas leaked from a forklift's liquid propane tank that an employee was changing. 

"The employee sustained frostbite injuries to his gloved fingers, which required amputation," the report read. "The employee was hospitalized.” 

The fine was originally over $10,000, but corrective actions by the company lowered the fine to just over $7,900.