A Wisconsin grain facility was cited by OSHA after the engulfment death of a manager in a corn silo.
The manager was last seen clearing corn debris from the silo. Employees called 911 when they couldn’t find him at the silo and after he didn’t show up for a regularly scheduled meeting or answer his phone.
After nine hours of searching, emergency services recovered the body of the manager, who had been engulfed in the silo, according to a Department of Labor news release.
The news release notes the facility’s recent history includes “a May 2017 explosion that killed five workers and injured as many as 15 others, and a large grain shelf collapse in October 2020 that nearly engulfed an employee who was cleaning the inside of a grain bin.”
Company: Didion Milling, Cambria, WI
Business: Flour Milling
Reason for fine:
Four willful violations for failure to:
- ensure silo’s mechanical equipment was deenergized during employee entry when such operations would pose hazards from grain movement
- prohibit employees from being on moving grain when attempting to clear bottom discharge of silos
- ensure observers were stationed outside silos during entry operations
- prevent employees from entering silos where buildup of grain along sides presented engulfment hazards
10 serious violations for failure to:
- perform periodic inspections of rubber insulated gloves serving as electrical PPE
- clearly outline specific procedural steps for shutting down equipment to control hazardous energy
- conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures
- train employees on specific methods to safely perform silo cleaning tasks
- issue permits to employees entering silos for cleaning and inspection activities
- ensure all hazardous mechanical equipment inside grain storage structures were deenergized and disconnected
- prevent employees from standing in locations inside silos that could result in engulfment
- provide employees working in silos with body harnesses and lifelines
- provide equipment for rescue operations specifically suited for silos being entered
- prevent employees from standing in locations in silos that could result in engulfment from buildup of grain along sides of silos