The safety of grain workers nationwide, including in Colorado, is typically in the hands of their employers. This is a dangerous industry, and in many cases, company owners fail to inform workers of the life-threatening risks faced every day, and the safety precautions that should be taken. A grain facility in a neighboring state was recently cited for multiple serious and willful safety violations after an investigation into a tragic incident in May. A worker died two days after he was injured at work.
An incident report indicated that the 52-year-old maintenance worker had to enter the confined, enclosed space of a grain bin to clear the sides of crusted corn. A mass of collapsing corn engulfed him in moments. Rescue workers reportedly managed to save the worker, and he was taken to a hospital. Two days after the incident, he succumbed to his injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation to determine the company’s compliance with safety regulations. The findings of the investigators led to its inclusion in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA says such disregard of employee safety is unacceptable as the weight of grain and corn makes it almost impossible for victims to rescue themselves.
Colorado workers at grain facilities or other dangerous workplaces may find comfort knowing that the workers’ compensation insurance system will allow them to pursue financial relief if they are injured at work. Similarly, the surviving family members of the worker who lost his life in this type of incident may file death benefits claims through the insurance program. Compensation typically includes coverage of the costs of a funeral and burial, along with a financial package to cover lost income.
Source: world-grain.com, “OSHA cites Prinz Grain & Feed for safety violations“, Eric Schroeder, Nov. 11, 2016