A South Dakota company now faces $1.61 million in citations.
OSHA has filed 23 willful violations against the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association of Aberdeen, SD, for a fatality at its McLaughlin grain handling facility.
Steve Lee died Dec. 22, 2009, when he climbed inside a bin to see why the flow of grain had slowed. Lee was engulfed and smothered.
Co-workers tried to rescue him. OSHA says its investigation determined that five workers were also at risk of being engulfed when they were sent to rescue Lee. That added to the amount of the fines against the company.
An OSHA official says Lee was directed to enter the bin while it was being emptied — a common practice for the company, according to the agency’s investigation.
Earlier last year, another SD Wheat Growers employee died in a forklift incident at a different company facility.
The company is reviewing the citations. It has 15 days to decide whether to contest them.
The citations against the company include violations of confined space and grain handling standards.
Earlier this month, OSHA fined a Mississippi shipbuilder $1.32 million. That case also involved confined space violations. Two workers died in that incident.
What do you think about OSHA’s larger penalties in the last 18 months? Let us know in the Comments Box below.