The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued fines totaling $373,911 Wednesday to a Nebraska grain cooperative for violations after a worker became trapped in a grain bin last May, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported.
OSHA cited Farmers Cooperative in Raymond, NE with two willful, one repeat, and four serious violations of its grain handling rules and selected the company for its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
On May 4, a worker was cleaning soybean clumps in a grain bin while an auger was operational. The shifting material in the container led the worker to fall. As the auger rotated, the soybeans partially engulfed the worker. They were later removed by rescue crews.
“It is well known throughout the industry that entering a bin is extremely dangerous, especially while the auger is operating,” OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City said in a statement. “Entering a storage bin should always be avoided – if at all possible.”
15 days after receiving the citations and fine, the company must comply, request a meeting with an area administrator, or contest the matter before an independent commission.