The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed $293,000 in fines against Loup Valley Alfalfa Inc. of Burwell, Neb., for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at the company’s grain handling facility.
A December 2009 inspection of the facility found seven alleged willful, 16 alleged serious and three alleged other-than-serious violations, OSHA said.
The willful violations stem from the company’s failure to provide fall protection on open-sided platforms; operation of mechanical equipment, known as augers, while employees worked within the grain bin; failure to test the atmosphere prior to grain bin entry; instructing employees to walk down the grain; lack of a retrieval system for grain bin entries; lack of an attendant during bin entry operations, and fugitive grain dust that exceeded one-eighth inch depth.
The serious violations include deficient guardrail systems; unapproved powered industrial truck modifications; a lack of inspections on mechanical and safety control equipment; energized electric wiring left exposed, in disrepair, and/or inappropriately used; a lack of/or deficient machine guarding; and a failure to label hazardous chemical containers.
Loup Valley Alfalfa has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Omaha, Neb., or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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