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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has settled workplace safety violations with a Missouri-based grain company following six fatalities during a 2011 explosion, with the company agreeing to pay $182,000 in penalties.
OSHA and Bartlett Grain Co. L.P. signed a settlement requiring the company to implement safeguards, training and audit procedures at its 20 grain handling facilities in six states, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday. The agreement resolves contested citations issued by OSHA in April 2012 after six people were killed and two injured in the October 2011 explosion at the company’s Atchison, Kansas, grain elevator.
The agreement requires Bartlett Grain to review its safety and health management system and consult with industry experts to conduct a detailed audit of the system’s effectiveness, according to the statement. The company will also give its internal safety manager authority to stop unsafe operations, enlist a qualified third party to review new installations or material modifications to dust filter collectors and grain stream processing equipment, update its housekeeping and preventive maintenance programs, enhance its training procedures and submit quarterly reports to OSHA.
The company has also agreed to enhance its employee education and training efforts on best practices in grain handling, supplementing its annual employee grain training with outreach and training on grain engulfment and rescue to first responders and community members following any grain engulfment incidents within a 60-mile radius of any one of their facilities for a period of three years. Bartlett Grain will also acquire and maintain grain bin rescue tubes at all locations, according to the statement.
Bartlett Grain will install and require the use of fall protection for workers on top of railcars contiguous to or inside a structure and within a loading zone. Overhead protection systems will be installed at all facilities where grain is loaded onto railcars, according to the statement.
“By agreeing to the terms of this settlement, Bartlett Grain Co. has made a commitment to invest in its employees and work with OSHA to follow best practices and make significant changes at its facilities nationwide,” said Kimberly Stille, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, in a statement. “OSHA will ensure that Bartlett Grain implements its commitment to improve safety for all of its employees under this agreement.”
A Bartlett Grain spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.
A federal appeals court has reversed an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission decision that upheld an administrative law judge’s vacating of citations issued against an employer by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.