Grain Elevator Cited for Failure to Control Dust Levels

Following an explosion that killed one employee and injured another, a Kansas grain elevator is cited for 18 willful and serious OSHA violations.

The 70s band Kansas sang about "dust in the wind," but "dust" is a dirty word at one Kansas grain elevator and feed mill.

The Farmers Co-op Elevator Association in Greenleaf, Kansas, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a number of willful and serious violations, among them alleged failure to control grain dust levels, that led to an explosion in April that killed one worker and left another seriously injured.

OSHA proposed a penalty of $127,400 for two alleged willful and 16 alleged serious violations arising from the death of Max Hubbard, 51, and the injuries sustained by John Woltje, 42, who was critically burned in the explosion.

The willful violations are for failure to develop and implement a written housekeeping program to keep dust from building up in the elevator and for failure to remove potentially dangerous levels of grain dust. OSHA defines willful violations as those that are committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the law.

The alleged serious violations include failure to: implement a grain elevator machinery preventive maintenance program; provide adequate training; and implement a lockout/tagout program. OSHA defines serious violations as those in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition, and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

by Sandy Smith

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