OSHA Cites Company for Grain Bin Entrapment Hazards

The agency cites Sabina Farmers Exchange for exposing workers to grain bin entrapment

After a visit paid to Sabina Farmers Exchange in Wilmington, OH, OSHA found three employees working inside a grain storage bin while a mechanical sweep auger was operating. According to OSHA, this exposed workers to severe injury and death by being engulfed in flowing grain and the agency has cited the company with three repeat and six serious safety violations. The citations were given at the grain bins in Wilmington and Sabina.

Proposed penalties total $50,051. OSHA completed an inspection at the Wilmington Sabina Farmers Exchange facility after a receiving a complaint that workers were entering the grain bin while the sweep auger was operating (repeat violation). The company also exposed workers to fire hazards, which was another repeat violation. In addition, the company received four serious violations for failure to have an observer positioned outside the bin to maintain communication with workers inside, failure to develop a written housekeeping program to prevent grain bin dust accumulation and exposing workers to damaged electrical wiring.

OSHA also issued citations at the Sabina facility, where they issued citations for lack of guardrails on grain storage bins and lack of access ladder platforms that prevent employees from falling more than nine feet, among other hazards.

"A worker can be completely submerged in flowing grain within 60 seconds. More than half of all grain engulfments result in death by suffocation. Allowing workers to move grain while a sweep auger is running can cause the worker to become entangled in this dangerous equipment and submerged in the flowing grain," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati, in OSHA’s press release. "Grain bin operators have a responsibility to protect their workers by taking the necessary steps to turn off all moving equipment before allowing workers to enter grain bins, if they must."

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