The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Columbia Grain International for willfully exposing workers to grain-handling hazards after the fatal engulfment of an employee at its Arvilla, North Dakota, storage facility.

Kevin John Anderson, 58, of Aneta, died on July 3 after he became submerged in corn while working in the grain bin.

OSHA inspectors determined that CGI failed to follow OSHA standards during grain bin entry and cleaning operations and 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 also resulted in serious citations.

The company will face $190,000 in proposed penalties for the violations.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had simply followed well-known safety procedures,” said OSHA Area Director Scott Overson in Bismarck, North Dakota. “Instead, they exposed employees to dangerous hazards that resulted in the loss of life.”

OSHA’s Grain Handling webpage provides resources on recognizing and controlling hazards in the grain industry. OSHA is collaborating with the National Grain and Feed Association, Grain Elevator and Processing Society, American Feed Industry Association, and the Grain Handling Safety Coalition to identify potential hazards at grain, feed and processing facilities through the Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week slated for April 13-20, 2020.

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.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

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