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OSHA News Release
Region 8

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Region 8 News Release: 11-565-DEN
May 3, 2011
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: 303-844-1302


US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Columbia Grain in
Choteau, Mont., for workplace safety and health violations

BILLINGS, Mont. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Columbia Grain Inc. in Choteau with two repeat and six serious violations for hazardous conditions found during a general scheduled inspection of the grain handling facility. OSHA has proposed fines totaling $60,390.

"Columbia Grain failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful workplace," said Christine A. Webb, OSHA's area office director in Billings. "The hazards discovered during this inspection are well recognized in the grain handling industry and must be corrected."

The serious violations are deficiencies in fall protection, inadequate housekeeping in areas where combustible dust build-up had exceeded allowable limits and a lack of emergency action procedures. A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The repeat violations, similar to violations for which the same company was cited in September 2010, are deficiencies involving confined space entry procedures and unclassified electrical equipment used in areas where combustible dust hazards exist. A repeat violation is issued when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the previous five years.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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. The inspections were conducted by OSHA's Billings Area Office; telephone 406-247-7494. 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


U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at 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.