Parkland farm faces $12,000 fine after the death of a grandmother

Parkland’s C.W. Hendrix Farms bares some blame for May’s lightning strike death of longtime employee Maria Francisco Pascual, the Department of Labor said.

Lightning killed Pascual, 53, and injured two others at Hendrix Farms, 12210 Loxahatchee Rd., around 2 p.m. May 16.

Hendrix Farms faces a $12,934 fine, the maximum fine allowed in this situation, after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation determined “employees were exposed to to an electrocution (lightning strike) hazard while picking cucumbers from the farm beds during inclement weather.”

The Citation and Notification of Penalty suggests the farm uses “a lightning detection device or phone app to monitor lighting in the vicinity and to ensure no employees are working outside” when lightning might strike.

This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had trained management and employees on the hazards of working in severe weather,” OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Office Director Condell Eastmond said in a release.

According to the Palm Beach Post, relatives said Pascual had worked at Hendrix for 15 years, rising to the level of supervisor. The mother of five and grandmother of 12 lived with her husband in Lake Worth.