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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wichita, Kansas-based Gavilon Grain L.L.C. after two workers were fatally buried in a soybean storage bin.
According to media reports of the Jan. 2 incident, two men were buried under at least 20 feet of grain in a concrete grain elevator for nearly two hours.
Following an investigation, the company faces proposed penalties of $507,374, OSHA said Monday in a statement. The agency also placed Gavilon Grain in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA cited Gavilon Grain for failing to provide employees with lifelines and fall protection, lockout equipment and rescue equipment, and for allowing employees to enter a bin in which bridged and/or hung-up grain was present.
“Moving grain acts like quicksand and can bury a worker in seconds,” Kansas City, Missouri-based OSHA regional administrator Kimberly Stille said in the statement. “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had provided workers with proper safety equipment, and followed required safety procedures to protect workers from grain bin hazards.”
The company has contested the citations and will appear before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, according to OSHA.
Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
A North Dakota grain facility has been cited and is facing proposed penalties of $104,300 after a 36-year-old employee was hospitalized after being injured on the job.