An OSHA fine isn’t always the only penalty a company can expect from the government when it experiences a workplace fatality.
Prosecutors also have the ability to press criminal charges against the company in addition to OSHA’s penalty.
Crossroad Cooperative Association of Nebraska pleaded guilty to a criminal violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the 2007 grain bin suffocation of an employee. It will pay a $100,000 fine and be on probation for two years as a result.
In 2007, 18-year-old Joseph Teague died after a foreman told him to go into a grain bin with an auger conveyor belt running, according to the Journal Star. OSHA requires such machinery to be shut off if someone enters a bin. Teague was buried in five to seven feet of grain. His body wasn’t found for 30 minutes.
As part of the plea, Crossroads is required to allow OSHA inspectors to have unrestricted access to its plant.
The company settled a civil case against it for $50,000. Teague’s family collected money through the company’s workers’ comp insurance.
Nebraska’s U.S. Attorney, Joe Stecher, said his office will be aggressive in prosecuting companies that don’t provide a safe environment for workers.