Georgia Grain Silo Cited for Safety Violations that Led to Worker’s Death

Georgia Grain Silo Cited for Safety Violations that Led to Worker’s Death

Cedar Head LLC faces $41,303 in penalties following the tragic incident.

Colquitt, Georgia-based Cedar Head LLC is under scrutiny following a tragic incident at their grain silo, which led to the death of a 59-year-old worker in April 2023.

According to a release dated Sept. 15, an OSHA investigation discovered the silo operator failed to comply with grain-handling safety regulations which could have prevented the fatal incident. The worker was reportedly attempting to dislodge grain clumps inside a half-filled bin, standing atop the grain while the bin’s auger was in operation when the grain unexpectedly shifted. As a result, the worker was engulfed and suffocated.

Following this investigation, OSHA inspectors cited Cedar Head with nine serious violations. These included the company's failure to do the following: train employees on grain bin safety protocols, assess potential hazards before employees enter a bin, lock out and de-energize machinery effectively, provide workers with body harnesses and lifelines as well as rescue equipment and employ communication to ensure workers have support when inside a bin.

“Our investigation found Cedar Head failed to follow required federal safety standards that might have saved this worker’s life,” OSHA Acting Area Director Heather Sanders in Savannah, Georgia, said in a statement. “Our outreach and enforcement efforts continually stress the importance of making sure employees are trained and that proper procedures are followed when working inside grain bins to prevent tragedies like this one.”

OSHA also noted other violations, with Cedar Head LLC neglecting to halt the powered auger system and assess oxygen levels inside the grain bin before entry. The company was also cited for a failure to report the worker's death to OSHA within the mandatory eight-hour window. All in all, Cedar Head now faces $41,303 in proposed penalties.

The company now has 15 business days upon receiving the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal discussion with OSHA's director or challenge the agency’s findings.

About the Author

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

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