MORRAL, Ohio — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Gavilon Grain LLC in Morral following the September 2010 death of a 20-year-old worker who was caught in a discharge auger while cleaning out a grain bin.
At least 25 U.S. workers were killed in grain entrapments last year, and the numbers of entrapments are increasing, according to researchers at Purdue University. There were more grain entrapments in 2010 than in any year since the university started collecting data on entrapments in 1978.
Following inspections at its Morral, West Jefferson and Harpster grain bin facilities, the company is being cited for 46 safety and health violations with penalties totaling $465,500.
Gavilon Grain’s Morral facility was issued a total of eight safety citations with proposed penalties of $175,000, including two willful citations for failing to lock out the discharge and sweep auger and to provide an appropriate grain bin entry permit to perform work.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Five serious citations were issued for failing to train employees in safety precautions and bin entry procedures, not having an observer during bin entry, failing to have rescue equipment, failing to test the atmosphere in the space to be entered and failing to have deflagration controls for combustible dust.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
One other-than-serious citation was issued for not having combustible dust warning signs in place. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
As a result of violations discovered at the Morral facility, OSHA initiated inspections at the company’s West Jefferson and Harpster facilities. The West Jefferson facility was fined $171,000 and cited with a total of 22 health and safety violations.
The company’s facility in Harpster was fined $119,500 and cited with a total of 16 safety violations.
Gavilon Grain LLC, which operates as Peavey Co. in Ohio, is a subsidiary of Omaha, Neb.-based Gavilon Group LLC