Judge calls Messer employee’s conduct ‘shockingly unacceptable’


A judge has called the conduct of a Messer employee ’shockingly unacceptable and at best is grossly negligent’ in relation to a fatal liquid nitrogen leak at the Foundation Food Group in Georgia, US, earlier this year.

Six people were killed at the Foundation Food Group poultry plant in Gainesville in January when, according to investigators, nitrogen overflowed from the cryogenic freezer, which utilises liquid nitrogen. The nitrogen freezers and related nitrogen equipment installed on Line 4 of the facility were designed in the US by a company that Messer acquired in 2019, years after the freezers and equipment were designed and manufactured, Messer told gasworld. The freezer was manufactured by a sub-contractor, according to Messer.

Gwinnett County State Court Judge Emily Brantley has now ordered sanctions against Messer for hiding and destroying evidence in a lawsuit over the six deaths. Judge Brantley’s order applies to three of the six lawsuits that were filed.

A metal tube, called a bubbler and which acts as a safety device to keep the nitrogen from overflowing, was bent and was not working, according to a court document. A damaged tube is alleged to be partially to blame in the Foundation Food Group incident.

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