Farmers Cooperative Co. cited by US Labor Department's OSHA after
worker dies when struck by truck at Talmage, Neb., grain handling facility
TALMAGE, Neb. – Farmers Cooperative Co. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for nine serious safety violations after a worker was fatally injured Jan. 29. The worker was struck by a truck that was backing into a loading position at the Talmage grain handling facility. The inspection was expanded to include hazards associated with grain handling activities.
"Farmers Cooperative failed to take the proper safety precautions to protect workers from hazards associated with the loading of grain for transport," said Bonita Winingham, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "No job should cost a person's life because of an employer's failure to take proper precautions to protect their safety."
Nine serious safety violations include a general duty citation for failing to protect employees exposed to vehicular traffic. Additional violations include failure to guard belts and pulleys and violations of OSHA's permit-required confined space regulations, including failing to provide equipment and training to workers about the equipment required to enter confined spaces, failure to post warning signs, have an attendant present during entry, issue permits prior to entering confined spaces, and failure to develop procedures for rescue from confined spaces.
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.
A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Confined space hazards are addressed in specific standards. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html.
In 2010, following the deaths of at least 26 U.S. workers in grain bin entrapments, the highest number on record, OSHA focused its enforcement efforts on the grain and feed industry's six major danger areas. These include engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, struck-by, combustible dust and electrocution hazards. OSHA area offices in 25 states, including Nebraska, have developed a Local Emphasis Program dealing with grain. OSHA has also published information related to common grain industry hazards and abatement methods, proper bin entry techniques, sweep auger use and many other grain-related topics at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/index.html.
Proposed fines total $22,800. 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 Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0171. 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.