BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA —COFCO International stopped operations at its Saforcada, Argentina, grain crushing facility following an accident that killed three workers.

On Nov. 10, three employees of the Tork Co., hired to carry out work in silos, died while carrying out their work, COFCO said.

The company confirmed it is conducting an internal investigation to determine the cause of the accident and personnel from the Scientific Police and the Labor Prosecutor's Office are in the place, taking statements from all personnel who may have details of what happened.

“Our company is absolutely shocked by what happened, and even though the accident has caused absolutely irreparable damage, it reiterates that it will do everything possible to accompany its relatives and friends through this terrible situation,” COFCO said.

The Federation of Workers of the Oleaginous Industrial Complex, Cotton Ginners and Allies of the Argentine Republic (FTCIOD and ARA), a local oilseed worker union, were dismayed by the accident.

“We want to express our deep pain and absolute rejection of the serious act in which three workers lost their lives at the Saforcada plant of the multinational COFCO located in the Junín, Province of Buenos Aires, and convey our greatest solidarity to his colleagues and family members,” said FTCIOD and ARA. “This morning three young workers died after being trapped under the grain in one of the silos of the facility.”

FTCIOD and ARA spoke out against the incident that occurred, stating, “Once again the worst possible scenario is repeated. Once again, workers lose their lives because they have to face their daily tasks in precarious conditions due to labor flexibility, under the contractor system.

“The responsibility lies in the first place with the employers who prioritize their profitability to the detriment of the health and integrity of the people who work in their plants.”

FTCIOD and ARA also noted the need for more oversight and guaranteed worker safety by the state.

“The state is also responsible at its various levels, which does not exercise its control functions in accordance with the constitutional mandate of guaranteeing decent working conditions and the health of workers,” the federation said.

COFCO International is a Chinese-based global agribusiness with 11,000 employees in 35 countries. COFCO’s origination network in Argentina includes nine collection plants, three milling plants (soybean and sunflower), where value-added products are generated for both local and domestic markets as well as its biodiesel plant.