The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Columbia Grain International LLC for willfully exposing workers to grain-handling hazards after the fatal engulfment of an employee at the company’s Arvilla, N.D., storage facility. The company faces $190,000 in proposed penalties.
The body of Kevin John Anderson, 58, of Aneta, was pulled from a grain bin at the facility in Arvilla in July.
While cleaning the bin, Anderson was buried under about 15 feet of corn, the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office reported in a press release at the time. Rescue crews spent around two hours attempting to locate and remove Anderson.
He was unresponsive when he was located and was pronounced dead at the scene.
OSHA inspectors determined that CGI failed to follow OSHA standards during grain bin entry and cleaning operations. OSHA issued a willful citation for allowing employees to “walk the grain” and for not preventing contact with operating machine parts by locking out the bin’s conveyor system. Violations related to walking/working surfaces, ladder use, machine guarding, bin entry procedures and bin rescue procedures resulted in serious citations.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had simply followed well-known safety procedures,” said OSHA Area Director Scott Overson in Bismarck, N.D. “Instead, they exposed employees to dangerous hazards that resulted in the loss of life.”
CGI has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.