The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a Nebraska grain-handling cooperative for workplace safety issue, specifically failing to protect workers from grain bin entrapment and engulfment hazards. The company faces $373,911 in proposed penalties.
On May 4, 2017, OSHA responded to reports of a worker partially entrapped in a grain bin. Investigators found the worker had entered the bin to clear clumps of soybeans while the auger was running. As the clumped beans cleared, the grain shifted and knocked the worker off of his feet. The auger drew the cleared beans to the bottom of the bin and engulfed the worker up to his chest. OSHA cited the cooperative for two willful, one repeat, and four serious safety violations of the agency’s grain handling standards, and placed the company in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“It is well known throughout the industry that entering a bin is extremely dangerous, especially while the auger is operating,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille, in Kansas City. “Entering a storage bin should always be avoided – if at all possible.”
OSHA previously cited the Dorchester-based Farmers’ Cooperative for a similar violation at its facility in Talmadge, for failing to properly train employees performing bin entry.
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.
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 http://www.osha.gov.
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