US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Ware Milling in Georgia for
30 safety and health violations after worker trapped in cotton bin
WAYCROSS, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Ware Milling Co. Inc. for 30 safety and health violations at the company's Waycross facility. Proposed penalties total $157,500.
OSHA initiated an inspection in November 2011 after receiving a complaint that a worker had entered a milled cotton seed bin without preparation and appropriate equipment, and became trapped and hung from a lanyard for a lengthy time. The worker experienced leg numbness exerted by the pressure of the safety harness and fell more than 10 feet onto the top of the cotton seed mill pile after rope was cut.
Two willful safety violations include failing to perform lockout/tagout procedures for the energy source of the screw auger when workers are inside the bins and have a stationed observer who can provide emergency assistance. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. The citations carry penalties of $77,000.
Twenty-four serious safety and health violations include failing to select appropriate personal protective equipment and train workers on how it should fit; develop an emergency action plan; provide rescue equipment when workers enter the bins; provide respirators to workers and use engineering controls during exposure to unregulated particulates; properly guard stairways, open-sided platforms, pulleys and belts; prevent combustible dust accumulation; address electrical deficiencies; develop and implement a hazard communication program; and label chemicals in the workplace and provide training on their usage. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The citations carry penalties of $79,800.
Four other-than-serious health violations involve failing to maintain OSHA's 300 log for 2011, provide Appendix D to workers wearing dust masks and certify workers' forklift operation training. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. Penalties total $700.
"OSHA is committed to reducing amputation risks in the grain handling industry and ensuring that rescue measures are in place prior to silo entry," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah. "However, a safe work site is the employer's responsibility."
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WareMillingCompanyInc_314096355_0502_12.pdf* and
Ware Milling Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a 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 Savannah Area Office at 912-652-4393.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.