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OSHA News Release
Region 5

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Region 5 News Release: 06-1001-CHI
July 5, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: 312-353-6976

Cottage Grove, Wis., Grain Elevator Operator Fined $153,450 for Federal Workplace Safety Violations

MADISON, Wis. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $153,450 in fines against Landmark Services Cooperative, an agribusiness company located in Cottage Grove, Wis., for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards involving the safe operation of a grain elevator in McFarland, Wis.

OSHA officials opened an inspection in January, following receipt of information that a Landmark employee had become engulfed in soybeans while working inside a grain bin in McFarland without proper and necessary safety equipment or training.

The investigation resulted in citations for two alleged willful violations of federal workplace safety regulations, including failure to provide employees entering grain bins with harnesses and lifelines, and permitting employees to walk on moving grain flowing out of the bin. OSHA also issued five alleged serious violations addressing the company's failure to train employees on grain bin entry hazards, failure to lock out the grain auger inside the bin prior to employee entry, failure to test the atmosphere inside the bin for oxygen content, failure to provide suitable rescue equipment and failure to train employees who act as observers.

"Some of these violations have the potential to kill employees inside those confined spaces," said OSHA Area Director Kimberly Stille, Madison, Wis. "When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace safe, the results can be tragic for employees and their families."

Landmark Services Cooperative employs approximately 300 people. The company has no previous history with OSHA. Landmark Services Cooperative was established in 2003 to serve customers in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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