OSHA Fines Wisconsin Miller $1.8 Million After Explosion

The agency cited the Didion Milling facility in Cambria, Wis., for 14 willful violations, including eight willful per-instance egregious ones, and five serious violations, most of which involved fire and explosion hazards. The company also has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA announced Nov. 17 that it has issued $1,837,861 in fines against Didion Milling Inc. following a May 31, 2017, explosion at its Cambria mill that killed five workers and injured 12 others, including a 21-year-old employee who suffered a double leg amputation after being crushed by a railcar. OSHA reported its investigation found the explosion likely resulted from Didion's failures to correct leaks and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility and to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources.

The agency cited the Cambria facility for 14 willful violations, including eight willful per-instance egregious ones, and five serious violations, most of which involved fire and explosion hazards. The company also has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"Didion Milling could have prevented this tragedy if it had addressed hazards that are well known in this industry," said OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha, who is located in Chicago. "Instead, their disregard for the law led to an explosion that claimed the lives of workers, and heartbreak for their families and the community."

The egregious willful citations were issued for allegedly violating the grain handling standard by failing to perform required maintenance on operating equipment and implementing a housekeeping program to control dust accumulations. The willful citations were issued for alleged failure to shut down ignition sources, prevent static electricity discharge, provide adequate personal protective equipment to employees, correct malfunctioning dust collection systems, maintain equipment safety controls, and have an emergency alarm system. Serious citations addressed hazards associated with fires and explosions and the lack of employee training, according to OSHA.

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