GRANT PARK, ILLINOIS, US — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the US Department of Labor has placed Manteno, Illinois, US-based Farmers Elevator Co. on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program and cited the company $205,106 for failing to provide safety protections to its employees.  The decision comes after a worker suffered fatal injuries after falling into a grain bin at the company’s Grant Park, Illinois, US, facility in January.

According to OSHA, Farmers Elevator committed two willful and three serious violations. The agency determined that the grain operator allowed employees to enter a grain bin by using a ladder with rungs spaced greater than 14 inches apart and without a body harness and lifeline. OSHA also said Farmers Elevator failed to provide rescue equipment and exposed employees to engulfment hazards while walking down grain. OSHA also cited the company for failure to disconnect or lockout equipment, test atmospheric conditions and post an observer prior to allowing employees to enter the storage bin.

“This employer failed to provide well-known safety protections to its workers and the result was tragic,” said Ken Montgomery, acting area director for OSHA Chicago South. “Employers are required to provide personal protective equipment and train workers in their use.”

Farmers Elevator has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.