Department of Labor Logo
OSHA News Release
Region 5

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

April 19, 2016

OSHA cites world's largest sauerkraut cannery after worker falls into vat
GLK Foods cited for 4th time in 5 years for exposing workers to multiple hazards

BEAR CREEK, Wis. - A Wisconsin food cannery faces $143,550 in federal penalties after a 35-year-old worker fell more than 17 feet into an empty sauerkraut vat and broke multiple bones. The inspection that followed was the fourth time since 2011 that the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited GLK Foods LLC for failing to protect workers from fall and machine hazards.

On April 13, OSHA issued one willful, two repeat, five serious and one-other-than serious safety violations to the Bear Creek cannery after the Oct. 27, 2015, injury inspection. The agency found similar violations at the facility in 2013 and 2015.

"If GLK Foods had fixed safety discrepancies found in previous OSHA inspections this man's injury would likely have been prevented," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "In 2014, there were more than 86,300 job related injuries and illnesses recorded* for Wisconsin workers. Too many workers suffer life-altering injuries because employers fail to follow common sense safety procedures and regulations to protect them on the job."

Inspectors found GLK Foods failed to:

  • Protect employees from falls while working on top of cabbage fermentation vats and elevated platforms by providing fall arrest equipment and installing guard railings.
  • Develop procedures and implement permit confined space requirements including testing atmospheric conditions and providing emergency and rescue equipment.
  • Install safeguards on moving conveyor parts.
  • Keep floor holes covered to prevent slips and falls.
  • Use locking devices to prevent unintentional operation of conveyors.

View citations here*.

GLK Foods is the world's largest sauerkraut manufacturer. Its facilities in Bear Creek and Shortsville, New York process 140,000 tons of raw cabbage annually.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Appleton office at 920-734-4521.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

# # #

Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 16-767-CHI

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.