Grain handling company fined $292K

grain storage bin
(Chris Kick photo)

Associated Press

MAUMEE, Ohio — A federal agency fined an Ohio-based grain handling company over alleged safety violations that led to the deaths of two employees last year.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined The Andersons Inc. nearly $292,000 for grain handling, and walking and working surfaces violations in the July 19 accident, the Toledo Blade reported.

The company, headquartered in Monclova Township, came under fire following the deaths of Joshua Stone, 29, of Rossford, and James Heilman, 56, of Perrysburg. The two men suffocated after becoming trapped inside a grain storage tank owned by the local agribusiness.

The agency proposed a fine of $291,716 and cited the company for two willful and two serious violations for not developing an emergency action plan that included the proper procedures for grain rescue and coordination with local rescue services.

The Andersons said in a statement it “has cooperated with OSHA throughout its investigation of this incident and will continue to take steps necessary to assure compliance with OSHA’s safety standards.”

The company added it cannot further comment at this time and that its “team is still deeply shaken by this tragedy as our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of these employees.”

The Andersons will have 15 days to contest the fine but regardless, the federal agency placed the agribusiness in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

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