Didion Milling Inc. to Pay $1.8 Million in OSHA Settlement Following Fatal Explosion

Didion Milling Inc. to Pay $1.8 Million in OSHA Settlement Following Fatal Explosion

The Cambria, Wisconsin incident occurred in May 2017 and claimed the lives of five workers.

Didion Milling Inc.—a corn milling company based in Cambria, Wisconsin—has agreed to pay over $1.8 million in penalties and implement safety improvements at its facility. According to a release dated Dec. 14, Didion Milling reached a settlement with OSHA tied to an explosion on May 31, 2017, resulting in the deaths of five workers and injuries to more than a dozen.

“Didion Milling’s agreement to make extensive safety improvements and work with OSHA and industry experts to protect the mill’s workers will protect the safety and lives of their current and future employees,” OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago said in a statement. “OSHA will hold Didion leadership accountable for changing the corporate culture to focus on safety and health by working with experts, and with management and workers.”

As part of the agreement, Didion Milling must develop a corporate-wide safety and health management system, create a safety committee, work with third-party experts for equipment integrity, conduct hazard analyses, provide necessary training and resources for combustible dust housekeeping, develop a management of change program, review equipment changes for safety, create an incident-reporting system and conduct emergency planning response training.

In a related legal development, company Vice President of Operations Derrick Clark and former Food Safety Superintendent Shawn Mesner were convicted on Oct. 13, 2023, for falsifying documents and obstructing an OSHA investigation. Additionally, Didion Milling Inc. pleaded guilty to charges related to falsifying logs and agreed to pay restitution of over $10 million to the victims of the 2017 explosion, along with a $1 million criminal fine.

Other company officials, including shift superintendents and the former environmental manager, have pleaded guilty to various charges related to the incident and await sentencing.

Didion Milling Inc., operating since 1972, also runs production facilities in Markesan and Johnson Creek.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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