OSHA shifts focus to safety of grain facilities

Washington – A grain safety Local Emphasis Program in OSHA Region 5 has resulted in 61 inspections and 163 violations since its August launch, the agency recently said.

Violations found in the LEP related to grain engulfment, machine guarding, lockout/tagout, falls and combustible dust hazards, according to a Jan. 24 press release. OSHA Region 5 includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“Grain entrapments kill workers,” OSHA administrator David Michaels said in the release. “All employers, especially those in high-hazard industries, must prevent workers from being hurt or killed as a result of recognized hazards.”

Haasbach LLC recently was issued 24 citations with $550,000 in penalties following an investigation at the company’s grain elevator in Mount Carroll, IL. Two teens died and a third man was injured when they were “walking down the corn” as grain-evacuating machinery was running and became entrapped in corn more than 30 feet deep, according to OSHA.

Haasbach also received $68,125 in civil penalties for employing a minor to perform hazardous jobs, prohibited under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor standards.

Hillsdale Elevator Co. recently received 22 citations and $729,000 in fines following the death of a worker who was engulfed by corn in a storage bin in Geneseo, IL. Additional violations were discovered in a subsequent inspection of the company’s Annawan, IL, facility, OSHA said.

In August, OSHA sent a letter to grain companies warning them not to allow workers into grain facilities without proper equipment, precautions and training.

“The tragic deaths of three people could have been prevented had the grain bin owners and operators followed the occupational safety standards and child labor laws,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in the Jan. 24 release.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)