OSHA fined this company $193,200 after investigating the death of a worker.
Burnett Dairy Cooperative of Grantsburg, WI, calls the fines and violations issued by OSHA outrageous and says it’ll appeal.
OSHA investigated after employee Laurel Nelson, 52, died in a grain bin on Nov. 21, 2014.
The agency says Nelson was trying to unclog a sump when he was engulfed by corn and died in the bin.
Nelson is survived by his wife and five children.
Burnett received two willful and eight serious violations from OSHA. The violations include failure to:
- develop and implement the means, procedures, and practices necessary for safe permit-required confined space entry
- train employees on safe permit-required confined space entry
- develop, document and use procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy
- train employees about control of potentially hazardous energy
- ensure the employee was equipped with a lifeline or other means to prevent him from sinking further than waist-deep into the grain
- provide equipment for rescues
- provide training about rescue procedures
- lock out and tag out all machinery before employee entered grain bin, and
- prohibit “walking down grain” inside bin.
OSHA also placed Burnett in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program which requires follow-up inspections.
Burnett issued a statement in response to the OSHA fines which included the following statements:
- “Certain of the representations made in the [OSHA] press release are both patently incorrect and offensive”
- “OSHA’s contention that we put him [Nelson] at risk for the sake of doing business is outrageous”
- “He [Nelson] was wearing appropriate safety equipment and following procedures endorsed by OSHA for safe work.”
The dairy called OSHA’s allegations “completely unfounded.”
Companies that are fined by OSHA have 15 business days from when they’re notified to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the violations. If the company and OSHA don’t come to an agreement, the case may be heard before an administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.