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Region 7 News Release: 11-1698-KAN
Dec. 1, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6876      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites C.O. Grain in Nebraska for exposing
workers to safety hazards during grain bin entry; proposed fines total $132,000

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited C.O. Grain Inc., a grain storage facility in Atkinson, with 16 safety violations for exposing workers to a variety of hazards during grain bin entry. OSHA initiated its inspection under a local emphasis program targeting grain handling establishments. Proposed penalties total $132,000.

"Hazards associated with grain handling are well-recognized within the grain industry and must be addressed," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "C.O. Grain failed to provide its employees with a safe and healthful environment."

Three willful violations, with $84,000 in penalties, address hazards associated with a failure to lock out the energy sources of mechanical equipment during bin entry; a failure to test air quality prior to bin entry; and a lack of rescue equipment for employees making bin entries. 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.

Twelve serious violations, with $48,000 in penalties, involve additional hazards associated with bin entry, fixed ladder use and design, the use of respiratory protection, unguarded pulleys and belts, and hazard communications. 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.