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Criminal Activity and Feed Controversy Makes Headlines

OSHA violations, a drunken vandal and an ingredient ban make for an interesting week

The top stories from the week of Aug. 19 are…

  1. Man Vandalizes North Dakota Grain Elevator
  2. Cattle Feed Additive Zilmax Pulled From Market
  3. Greg Sikes Farm Cited by OSHA for Grain Bin Safety Hazards
  4. Grain Silo Operator Fined for Sweep Auger Injury
  5. Smithfield Shareholders to Vote on Takeover in September

Man Vandalizes North Dakota Grain Elevator

After a night of drinking, Donald Julian Ellis broke into a grain elevator in Page, ND, owned by The Arthur Companies. He proceeded to smash up the elevator’s office, throwing around office supplies and furniture before emptying a fire extinguisher over the wreck. Ellis then smashed a grain truck into a concrete slab causing significant damage, but then proceeded to steal another company truck and drive home. Ellis admitted to the acts when confronted by police the next day, as well as being intoxicated while performing the acts of destruction.  He claimed that someone the night before had told him to jump off the grain elevator and that he had broken in and caused the damage to “show everyone how big of a man” he was. Donald Julian Ellis is now charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief felonies as well as one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Cattle Feed Additive Zilmax Pulled From Market

Tyson banning Zilmax was the top story for the week of the Aug. 12 and has had ripples through out the meat processing industry. Even though Cargill has stated that it has not had any issue regarding Zilmax, they followed suit and banned the supplement effective Sept. 30. Merck & Co., who manufactures the supplement, suspended the drug pending a scientific audit. Merck & Co. has stated that they have had no experiences like those cited by Tyson as its reason for banning the supplement, but decided to suspend the sale of Zilmax until the allegations are sorted out. Zilmax and similar drugs can add 30 pounds of muscle to cattle, and have been necessary in recent years due to dwindling herds. Tyson banned the supplement after reports of cattle arriving to be slaughtered unable to walk on their own.

Greg Sikes Farm Cited by OSHA for Grain Bin Safety Hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Greg Sikes Farm LLC, with six violations totaling $127,400 in proposed fines. This comes after an incident last fall, where an employee became entrapped while trying to remove soybeans jammed in an auger. The violations include:

Two willful violations

  • Failing to ensure the screw auger is locked out when workers are inside the bin
  • Provide workers a body harness with a lifeline upon bin entry

Six serious violations

  • Failing to develop an emergency action plan
  • Providing annual training on grain handling hazards
  • Obtaining permits addressing bin entry procedures and requirements
  • Failing to equip the workers who entered the bin with rescue equipment
  • Allowing workers to walk on the grain
  • Not ensuring that an observer was stationed outside during bin entry or was equipped to provide assistance in case of an emergency

For more information on following OSHA bin entry guidelines click here.   

Grain Silo Operator Fined for Sweep Auger Injury

Last October, a worker fell into a sweep auger when sweeping a grain bin in preparation for another shipment. The man claims he was taught by his supervisor to merely slow the auger down, rather than turn it off, as required by The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The man sustained injuries to his head, right eye, right arm, right leg, a broken jaw and heavy bruising. The courts found the company at fault and ordered it to pay the worker an additional $26,000 in emotional damages on top of the $20,000 for medical expenses, as well as a $35,000 fine.  

Smithfield Shareholders to Vote on Takeover in September

Shareholders will now have a date to decide if Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. will be able to purchase industry giant Smithfield on Sept. 24. The merger has gone over many obstacles including concerns from the U.S. Government.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission must first approve the sale, a decision expected to be made by Sept. 6.   

Well those are the top five. I want to remind you to email me if you have any story ideas, comments on what news you want to hear about, or just to say hey. Subscribe to Industry Watch, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for all the latest news in the industry. 

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