August 3, 2016

2 Min Read
OSHA Fines Grain Company after Worker Caught in Sweep Auger

An investigation into a 36-year-old worker's injuries at a North Dakota grain facility found multiple violations of federal safety standards for grain handling and confined space entry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The agency's Bismarck Area Office investigated the April 19, 2016, incident at the Larson Grain Co.'s facility in Fredonia in which a sweep auger caused a worker to suffer multiple lacerations. The injuries led to his hospitalization for treatment.

On July 29, OSHA cited the company - based in nearby Lamoure - for six willful and eight serious citations carrying proposed penalties of $104,300.

"OSHA's grain-handling standards address the numerous serious and life-threatening hazards found in grain bins, including caught-in and confined space hazards," said Eric Brooks, OSHA's area director in Bismarck. "Larson Grain could have prevented this worker's injuries if only it had adhered to these common sense safety standards that protect workers in this hazardous industry."

OSHA's investigation found Larson Grain Co. failed to:

•    Test atmospheric conditions in grain bins before allowing workers to enter
•    Complete permit-required confined space entry permits
•    Disconnect a sweep auger and other equipment in bins before allowing workers to enter
•    Train employees on procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or unintentional operation
•    Install adequate machine guarding to avoid contact with moving parts
•    Implement a respiratory protection program
•    Cover floor and wall openings to protect workers from trips and falls
•    Train employees entering grain bins on safety procedures

Larson Grain also operates facilities in Adrian, Englevale, Grand Rapids, Linton, and Wishek. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.

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