Because the grain industry is known for posing many safety hazards that expose workers to multiple life-threatening dangers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspects such facilities in Colorado and other states at regular intervals. The agency recently inspected a grain cooperative in a neighboring state, and several safety violations that could cause occupational injuries resulted in citations. The visit by the agency followed an amputation injury in 2014 and fines for similar violations in Feb. 2015.
The hazards identified during the latest inspection included the company’s failure to establish a written plan to deal with grain-dust accumulation. Inspectors found an accumulation of grain dust that exceeded the prescribed thickness of one-eighth of an inch. Furthermore, employees were exposed to platforms and ladderways that lacked guardrails — posing fall hazards.
OSHA instructed the grain cooperative to reevaluate the company’s housekeeping protocols related to prompt removal of grain-dust that pose severe risks to the health of workers. Also, immediate improvements must be made to address fall hazards and worker safety in general. A fine of $65,000 was proposed for three serious and two repeated violations of safety regulations.
Colorado workers who have suffered occupational injuries or illnesses that were caused by unsafe workplace environments are free to pursue financial relief to cover medical expenses, including lost income when the injuries caused absences from work. Benefits claims may be filed with the workers’ compensation insurance program. Once it is established that the illness or injury is work-related, compensation may be awarded that will allow the injured worker to continue caring for his or her family while having to cope with unanticipated financial challenges.
Source: hutchnews.com, “OSHA cites Kansas grain co-op for exposing workers to fall, grain dust hazards at Quinter site”, Amy Bickel, Feb. 1, 2016