Grain Bin Operator Faces $507,374 in OSHA Fines

Employees were not trained to handle special tasks.

Kansas-based Gavilon Grain LLC is now part of OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program after two workers were fatally engulfed in a soybean storage bin.

After an OSHA investigation, the grain bin operator faces proposed penalties of $507,374.

“Moving grain acts like quick sand, and can bury a worker in seconds,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille, in a statement. “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had provided workers with proper safety equipment, and followed required safety procedures to protect workers from grain bin hazards.”

According to investigators, grain spout/chutes were not locked out/tagged out or blocked by other means. Conveyor belt in the tunnel was not locked out/tagged out. Workers entered the grain bin without a lifeline connected to their body harnesses, and employees were not provided with rescue equipment.

Serious violations noted employees assigned special tasks such as bin entry and handling of flammable or toxic substances did not receive training. In addition, workers were not adequately trained in rescue procedures.OSHA also cited Gavilon Grain LLC for allowing employees to enter a bin in which bridged and/or hung-up grain was present.

The company has contested the citations and will appear before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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