A company’s decision to overload bins on its roof directly led to the deaths of two workers and injuries suffered by nine others, according to OSHA.
On Jan. 20, the roof collapse killed two workers, and injured 17 – nine were treated at a local hospital. Four of the injured workers were trapped in the rubble of the building and had to be rescued by the Omaha Fire Department.
Employees say the first thing they noticed was the building rumbling. Next, debris started falling as the rooftop bins fell three floors into the center of the building in about half a minute.
As employees were trying to escape the collapsed building, all the lights went out, sending many of the 38 workers inside into complete darkness.
The company manufactures a feed supplement using multiple dry ingredients which were stored in the nine bins on the facility’s roof.
Violations cited by OSHA include failure to:
- protect workers from hazards associated with overloading the bin structures on the roof and its subsequent collapse (willful)
- protect workers from hazards associated with using compressed air at greater than the recommended 30 pounds per square inch (repeat – the company was previously cited for this in 2011)
- provide proper dust ventilation (serious)
- follow respiratory protection standards (serious)
- train workers on confined space requirements, hazard communication and proper operation of powered industrial vehicles (serious)
- develop specific lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers operating dangerous machinery (serious), and
- de-energize potential ignition sources when using compressed air for cleaning (serious).
OSHA also placed the company into the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
International Nutrition has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The company issued a statement saying it’s disappointed with the OSHA investigation. “We disagree strongly with OSHA’s conclusion,” said attorney Pat Barrett. International Nutrition is continuing its own investigation to determine the cause of the collapse. The company hasn’t yet offered an alternate explanation.
Barrett said the company hadn’t determined what course it would take regarding the OSHA citations.