The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cooperative Producers Inc., a grain elevator facility in Franklin, Neb., for six safety violations for exposing workers to a variety of hazards. OSHA initiated its inspection under a local emphasis program targeting grain handling establishments. Proposed penalties total $126,500.
"Hazards associated with the grain handling industry are well-recognized," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Cooperative Producers failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful environment. It is imperative that all employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."
One willful violation, with a $70,000 proposed penalty, addresses hazards associated with fall protection on rolling stock. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Three serious violations, with $18,000 in proposed penalties, involve hazards associated with exit routes, flexible extension cords and an electrical receptacle. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
One repeat violation addresses fall protection deficiencies, and carries a proposed penalty of $38,500. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited in March 2011 for a similar violation.
One other-than-serious violation, with no monetary penalty, is associated with the lack of a floor load rating. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA has fined grain operators in Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, South Dakota, Ohio and Nebraska following preventable fatalities and injuries.