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Region 8 News Release: 11-1289-SEA (11-201)
Sept. 6, 2011
Contact: Michael Shimizu
Phone: 206-553-7620
Email: shimizu.michael@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Cenex Harvest States in
Columbus, Mont., for violations found in grain elevator areas

COLUMBUS, Mont. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cenex Harvest States Inc., doing business as Central Montana Co-Op in Columbus, for one willful, three repeat and nine serious safety and health violations found in the grain elevator areas of the company's facility. The investigation was initiated under OSHA's regional emphasis program targeting grain handling establishments. Proposed fines total $229,000.

The willful violation was cited for failing to test for hazardous atmospheres in permit-required spaces. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The repeat violations involve unguarded pit and floor holes, and unacceptable accumulations of potentially explosive dust. 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. OSHA cited the company in August 2010 at its Courtenay, N.D., location and in February 2011 at its Wolf Point, Mont., location.

The serious violations involve unguarded platforms, walkways with uncovered holes, improper design of ladders, a lack of implementation of a housekeeping program for combustible dust, no communication provided during permit-required confined space entries, a lack of atmospheric monitoring before entering grain storage structures and improper electrical wiring for high dust areas. A