A company has agreed to take several safety steps and pay a fine in connection with the collapse of its building last year that claimed the lives of two employees.
On Jan. 20, 2014, the roof collapsed on International Nutrition’s facility in Omaha, NE. Two workers were killed, 17 were injured. Of the injured, 9 required hospital treatment. Four employees were trapped in rubble and had to be rescued by emergency responders.
OSHA said the cause of the collapse was overloading bins on the facility’s roof. Investigators said the extra weight caused the bins to fall three floors in about half a minute. Nearly one million pounds of steel, concrete and other material crashed through the plant. Although they reported hearing loud noises immediately before the collapse, International employees had virtually no warning about the disaster.
OSHA initially issued 13 violations and $120,560 in fines to International.
As part of the settlement agreement, the company will pay $78,000 for nine violations: two repeat, five serious and two other-than-serious. That’s a 35% reduction in the amount of the fine.
International will remain in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program which requires follow-up inspections. The company can apply to leave the program after three years.
As part of the settlement, International has agreed to:
- hire a consultant acceptable to OSHA
- perform regular and unannounced safety and procedural checks at the new facility which is being built on the grounds of the old one and is expected to open in August
- provide OSHA with evidence that it has installed a dust collection system in the new facility
- launch an employee training program
- provide enhanced safety training for managers, and
- hold monthly meetings with employees to discuss safety issues.
The company’s cooperation throughout the investigation and negotiations helped expedite the process, according to OSHA’s area director in Omaha. International’s owner, Steve Silver, said the settlement “puts the whole issue behind us.”
International produces livestock feed.