OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA News Release – Region 7
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 7 News Release: 07-1684-KAN
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: 214-767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
Proposed penalties total more than $130,000
SIDNEY, Neb. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Crossroads Cooperative Association of Sidney for two alleged willful and five alleged serious violations of federal health and safety standards following a fatal accident at the grain-handling cooperative. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $130,050.
OSHA initiated its inspection May 8 after an employee of the cooperative received fatal injuries when engulfed by millet grain. The victim and a second employee entered a bin to aid in grain removal by shoveling it to the center of the bin's conical base. The grain removal auger caused the grain to flow and pulled the victim under.
"Grain handling facilities have the potential to be extremely hazardous," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Crossroads failed to take appropriate action to protect its employees. Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe and healthful at all times."
The alleged willful violations address hazards associated with failure to disconnect and lock out mechanical equipment used for grain removal when employees enter a bin; allowing employees to work within the bin on the grain without any equipment to prevent engulfment; and failure to provide equipment for emergency rescue. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The alleged serious violations address hazards associated with the use of a ladder with improper rung spacing and structural defects; failure to use a bin entry permit system or other allowed procedure; failure to prohibit the practice of employees walking on grain; failure to maintain a written certification record of each inspection of grain stream equipment such as bucket elevators and augers; and failure to station an observer outside a bin being entered. Serious violations are those which could result in death or serious physical harm about which the employer knew or should have known.
Crossroads Cooperative Association has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 38,000 inspections in fiscal year 2006 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found nearly 84,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
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 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 process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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