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Region 7 News Release: 11-1553-KAN
Nov. 2, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Cooperative Producers in Nebraska
for exposing workers to fall and other safety hazards; fines total $126,500

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cooperative Producers Inc., a grain elevator facility in Franklin, Neb., for six safety violations for exposing workers to a variety of hazards. OSHA initiated its inspection under a local emphasis program targeting grain handling establishments. Proposed penalties total $126,500.

"Hazards associated with the grain handling industry are well-recognized," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Cooperative Producers failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful environment. It is imperative that all employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."

One willful violation, with a $70,000 proposed penalty, addresses hazards associated with fall protection on rolling stock. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Three serious violations, with $18,000 in proposed penalties, involve hazards associated with exit routes, flexible extension cords and an electrical receptacle. 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.

One repeat violation addresses fall protection deficiencies, and carries a proposed penalty of $38,500. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited in March 2011 for a similar violation.

One other-than-serious violation, with no monetary penalty, is associated with the lack of a floor load rating. 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.

OSHA has fined grain operators in Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, South Dakota, Ohio and Nebraska following preventable fatalities and injuries.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CooperativeProd_314060492_1028_11.pdf*.

Cooperative Producers 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.

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 402-553-0717.

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.

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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.


* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.


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