The death of a worker who suffocated in a Georgia grain silo could have been prevented had their employer followed safety regulations, federal officials say.
That finding results from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the April death of a 59-year-old worker in Colquitt, GA, about 210 miles southwest of Atlanta.
The worker suffocated while attempting to unclog a grain bin at a silo operated by Cedar Head LLC in April. As the worker stood atop the grain, the pile shifted and quickly engulfed them, a monthslong OSHA investigation found. One other employee saw a rope tied to the worker disappearing into the grain but could not rescue the engulfed colleague.
The OSHA probe uncovered nine workplace violations, the agency said. Cedar Head faces more than $41,000 in fines.
“Our investigation found Cedar Head failed to follow required federal safety standards that might have saved this worker’s life,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Heather Sanders in a news release. “Our outreach and enforcement efforts continually stress the importance of making sure employees are trained and that proper procedures are followed when working inside grain bins to prevent tragedies like this one.”
The safety violations listed by regulators include not training workers on how to enter a grain bin safely and not providing rescue equipment for employees entering a bin.