ROSELAND, NEB. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor has proposed $531,000 in fines against CHS Inc. — operating as Agri-Service Center Roseland — after determining the company allowed workers to enter bins with grain build-up, and for failing to develop procedures for entering permit-required confined spaces. The agency also said CHS failed to ensure emergency services were available or recognize and evaluate hazards and train workers.
The fines are related to an accident that occurred Sept. 12, 2022, at Agri-Service Center’s grain silo in Roseland, Neb. According to OSHA, Agri-Service Center’s failure to follow safety procedures contributed to a 34-old-employee’s death when corn engulfed and asphyxiated him while he attempted to clean out a grain silo.
OSHA determined that Agri-Service Center disregarded federal regulations designed to prevent such tragedies and found the worker’s personal protective equipment was not adequate for protection from engulfment hazards. OSHA also determined that CHS failed to equip the employee with an adequate body harness and lifeline that co-workers could have used to rescue him.
“The dangers of working inside grain bins are well-known and safety standards have been in place for decades,” said Matthew Thurlby, OSHA’s area director in Omaha, Neb. “Despite our continued outreach and enforcement activity in this highly hazardous industry, we continue to see preventable fatalities. Agri-Service Center Roseland should know that safety standards and proper training, procedures, and equipment can make the difference between life and death. Expediency should never be put ahead of worker safety.”
In total, OSHA issued citations for 16 violations, including 2 willful violations and 14 serious violations. The agency also placed CHS in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
CHS has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family,” CHS said. “We are reviewing the citations from OSHA and will reserve further comment at this time.”