Region 7 News Release: 11-855-KAN
June 9, 2011
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Liquid Feed Commodities
in Fremont, Neb., for serious health and safety violations
FREMONT, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Liquid Feed Commodities Inc. in Fremont for 20 serious and one other-than-serious violation of OSHA's safety and health standards. Proposed fines total $79,200.
OSHA's inspection of Liquid Feed Commodities was initiated in March under a local emphasis program that targets grain handling establishments. The program is designed to reduce injury, illness and death rates in the industry by increasing employers' knowledge of safety and health programs through a combination of outreach and enforcement activities.
"Hazards associated with the grain handling industry are well-recognized," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Liquid Feed Commodities failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful workplace. It is imperative that all employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for their employees."
The serious violations stem from a lack of or inadequate fall protection, respiratory hazards, confined space hazards, energy source lockout/tagout hazards, a lack of eyewash facilities, a lack of powered industrial truck training, machine guarding hazards, electrical hazards and chemical hazards. 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 other-than-serious violation is related to deficient powered industrial truck inspections. 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.
Since 2009, OSHA has issued fines exceeding $100,000 per employer to grain operators across the country following preventable fatalities and injuries. In addition to enforcement actions, OSHA sent a notification letter in August 2010 and another in February 2011 to more than 13,000 grain elevator operators warning them of proper safety precautions, including prohibiting entry in grain storage facilities while grain is being emptied out or flowing in or out of the bin, prohibiting employees from "walking down the grain" and ensuring that employees enter the bin with the proper safety equipment. "OSHA will not tolerate noncompliance with the Grain Handling Facilities standard," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels in both letters. "We will continue to use our enforcement authority to the fullest extent possible." The February letter is available at http://www.osha.gov/asst-sec/Grain-Letter-2-1-2011.html.
Liquid Feed Commodities has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Omaha Area Office; telephone 402-553-0171. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.