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OSHA Regional News Brief
Region 5

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.





May 10, 2016



Ohio ethanol production facility faces $149K in fines after inspectors
find 30 safety, health violations at Coshocton facility

Three Rivers Energy cited for chemical, grain-handling hazards

COSHOCTON, Ohio - An Ohio ethanol production facility faces $149,800 in federal penalties after federal inspectors found multiple violations of chemical and grain-handling standards at Three Rivers Energy LLC.

On May 6, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 42 serious and four other-than serious safety and health violations following three separate inspections at the bio-refinery in November 2015.

"Biofuels like ethanol are a fast-growing part of the energy sector. Its manufacture can involve potentially dangerous chemical reactions. Workers in biofuel facilities must be properly trained to operate equipment and respond to emergencies," said Linda Harrington, OSHA's acting area director in Columbus. "In addition to hazards in the manufacturing process, the storage of corn used in ethanol exposes workers to grain handling hazards like dust ignition and engulfment as workers move corn from storage to the processing area. Employers must protect workers from these hazards during their production processes."

Inspectors found Three Rivers Energy's ethanol production violated OSHA's process safety management regulations including failing to:

  • Develop written procedures for safely conducting tasks in the process, and for maintaining the ongoing integrity of equipment.
  • Train operators.
  • Correct equipment deficiencies.
  • Establish an incident investigation team and maintain accurate records.
  • Maintain adequate drawings and diagrams of pipes and instruments used in the chemical process.
  • Implement an emergency response plan for the plant and train workers in emergency response procedures.

Other violations included failing to:

  • Conduct personal protective equipment assessments.
  • Develop procedures and implement permit confined space requirements including testing atmospheric conditions and providing emergency and rescue equipment.
  • Train workers on grain bin safety and rescue operations.
  • Develop a written housekeeping program to remove grain dust and spills from the work area.
  • Install safeguards on machinery and live electrical parts.

View citations:

Three Rivers processes about 16 million bushels of corn annually and has an annual production of more than 46 million gallons of ethanol. In June 2012, the business was acquired by Three Rivers Energy, a partnership involving Lakeview Energy and Crestwood Biofuels.

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.

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 Columbus office at 614-469-5582.

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

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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 16-890-CHI

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