Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) is investigating the death of a high school junior inside a corn silo near Standish, MI.
Michigan State Police say Tom Osier, 18, was inside the silo at Pine Grove Farm, knocking corn loose that had stuck to the sides of the structure.
Another employee who was working outside the silo sensed something had gone wrong.
The other employee climbed up and looked into the silo and wasn’t able to see Osier, which meant he was probably trapped in the grain.
Osier was found by the other worker at an opening at the bottom of the silo, trapped under several tons of corn. Because of the weight of the corn, it took fire personnel four hours to remove Osier from the silo. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
OSHA putting emphasis on grain handling deaths
In April, OSHA added grain handling hazards to the list of violations covered in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).
OSHA said adding grain handling hazards was “necessary to address the troubling and inexcusable increase in fatalities, entrapments and injuries within this high-hazard industry.”
An inspection in which OSHA finds two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices related to OSHA’s regulations for grain handling will be considered a severe violator enforcement case.
OSHA’s SVEP focuses enforcement efforts on employers who willfully and repeatedly endanger workers by exposing them to serious hazards. Companies in the program face increased inspections.
In January, OSHA issued more than $1.3 million in fines against two companies for three employee deaths in grain elevators. Two of those who died were ages 14 and 19.