American agribusiness The Andersons was issued several citations and a fine of $291,716 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after two workers became engulfed by material in a grain storage bin at the firm’s facility in Toledo, OH, officials announced in a release Thursday. The two employees were working to clear a clogged floor hole when they were killed in the engulfment.
The company was cited for two willful and two serious violations for failing to develop and emergency action plan that included procedures for grain rescue and coordination with local rescue services, and not powering down or disconnecting grain equipment before employees entered the bin. OSHA also gave The Andersons citations for requiring workers to enter grain storage bins on foot with engulfment and avalanche hazards present, and for exposing employees to fall hazards from uncovered floor holes.
“Employers are required to follow safety standards and train their workers on grain storage hazards to prevent tragedies such as this,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said in a statement. “OSHA has free resources available to help employers understand how to comply with safety and health regulations, as well as worker training to recognize hazards and dangerous working conditions.”
In addition to the citations and fine, The Andersons was entered into OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The company has 15 business days after receiving the citations to comply, challenge the findings before an independent board, or request an informal conference with an OSHA area director.
Earlier this month, OSHA fined Columbia Grain International (CGI) $190,000 after a fatal engulfment at its Arvilla, ND grain facility. An agency investigation determined the firm did not adhere to OSHA standards on grain bin entry and cleaning operations. A willful citation was issued for permitting workers to “walk the grain” and for failing to lock out the bin’s conveyor system to protect workers from operating machine parts. OSHA also identified several serious citations linked to walking/working surfaces, ladder use, machine guarding, bin entry procedures, and bin rescue procedures.