A company has signed a settlement agreement – including a $225,000 payment – with OSHA after a worker suffered partial amputation of his leg.
Red River Commodities, a North Dakota seed production company, signed the agreement after an investigation into how an employee’s leg was caught in an operating grain bin auger on Aug. 20, 2020.
OSHA found the employee had slipped into the auger while clearing sunflower seeds from a grain bin.
Red River was cited with seven willful, one repeat, four serious and two other-than-serious violations of OSHA’s grain handling, confined space, machinery and electrical regulations. OSHA also found Red River didn’t sufficiently train workers to recognize hazards.
Besides paying the penalty, the company agreed to provide immediate and annual training to employees on grain bin entry procedures and hazards, and revise its permit-required confined space and grain bin entry procedures across all its facilities.
The company has also purchased atmospheric testing equipment.
From 2014 to 2019, OSHA found similar violations in seven inspections. Red River paid penalties in those cases, but this agreement with OSHA is the first with the company to address and abate hazards at its facilities nationwide.
A focus on grain industry
March 29 to April 2, 2021 is Stand-Up 4 Grain Safety Week which aims to raise awareness of the grain-handling industry’s hazards.
OSHA has also established a Grain Handling Industry Local Emphasis Program to focus on the industry’s six major hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, struck-by incidents, combustible dust explosions and electrocution.