five short, wide, grey silos

OSHA Proposes Over $500K in Penalties for Nebraska Company After Worker Asphyxiation

The grain-handling company was also issued citations for 16 violations—including two willful—following the September 2022 incident.

A Nebraska grain-handling company is facing citations for 16 violations along with more than $500,000 in proposed penalties after the death of a worker.

Last September, a 34-year-old worker who had been cleaning out a corn silo suffocated when the corn engulfed him, according to a news release.

OSHA discovered that the worker was using inadequate PPE for the setting and did not have “an adequate body harness and lifeline that co-workers could have used to rescue him,” the agency said.

Per OSHA, CHS Inc., which does business as Agri-Service Center Roseland, was cited for “allowing workers to enter bins with grain build-up” as well as “failing to:”

  • “develop procedures for entering permit-required confined spaces,
  • ensure emergency services were available,
  • recognize and evaluate hazards and train workers and
  • implement machine safety procedures to prevent grain bin equipment from running while workers were inside bins.”

In total, Agri-Service Center Roseland faces citations for two willful and 14 serious violations along with $531,268 in proposed penalties. Besides receiving citations, the company was also placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"The dangers of working inside grain bins are well-known and safety standards have been in place for decades. Despite our continued outreach and enforcement activity in this highly hazardous industry, we continue to see preventable fatalities," said OSHA Area Director Matthew Thurlby in Omaha, Nebraska, in the news release.

"Agri-Service Center Roseland should know that safety standards and proper training, procedures, and equipment can make the difference between life and death. Expediency should never be put ahead of worker safety,” Thurlby continued.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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