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Didion Rebuffs OSHA Citations After Fatal Dust Explosion

December 11, 2017
Didion Milling in Cambria, WI. Image courtesy of Google Earth
Didion Milling in Cambria, WI. Image courtesy of Google Earth

The operator of a dry corn mill in Cambria, WI cited by U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an explosion that killed five and injured 12 in May filed an appeal to challenge the agency’s ruling and proposed fine of $1.8 million, a labor department spokesperson told the Wisconsin State-Journal.

As Powder & Bulk Solids reported, the agency cited the facility’s owner, Didion Milling Inc., with 14 willful and five serious violations and placed the firm in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The willful citations related to the company’s failure to control ignition sources, block static electricity discharges, ensure that personnel had the proper protective equipment, fix a malfunctioning dust collection system, and other safety lapses. OSHA said the “most egregious willful citations” centered on lapses of OSHA’s Grain Handling standard.

In a Nov. 29 statement, Didion Milling said that the firm takes issue with the “severity” of OSHA’s penalties. Spokesperson Aisha Bachlani told the State-Journal that the company also rejects the way the citations were categorized.

“Didion does not agree with the severity of the penalties levied against our family-owned business or the conclusions released by OSHA today. We are working with our legal counsel to determine how to address the findings from this federal agency,” the company’s statement said

The company had a period of time after receiving the proposed OSHA penalties to comply, challenge the ruling before an independent commission, or meet with an OSHA area director. Didion said it plans to rebuild the mill in Cambria.

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