Responding to a report of unsafe working conditions, federal investigators found employees at a Nebraska animal feed company exposed to the risk of grain dust explosion, electrical shock and confined space hazards, and multiple other violations of grain handling safety standards.

OSHA last week cited Nutrition Services for 25 serious and one other-than-serious violations following its July 2016 investigation. The agency has proposed penalties of $101,898.

“Two Nebraska workers have lost their lives in 2016 in the grain handling industry and far too many preventable fatalities and injuries continue to occur,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “OSHA’s grain-handling standards address the numerous serious and life-threatening hazards commonly found in grain bins by training workers in these hazards and by following recommended safety procedures employers can prevent injuries.”

During its investigation, the agency found Nutrition Services failed to:

  • Implement a confined space program, practice safe entry operations and train workers.
  • Test atmospheric conditions in grain bins before allowing workers to enter.
  • Remove accumulations of grain dust and potential initial sources, exposing workers to the risk of grain dust explosion.
  • Guard live electrical parts.
  • Implement procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or unintentional operation, a process known as lockout/tagout.
  • Install adequate machine guarding to avoid contact with moving parts.
  • Perform preventative maintenance of equipment.
  • Develop a hazard communication program to train workers about the presence and use of hazardous chemicals in the facility.
  • Guard floor openings to prevent falls.
  • Train workers on grain handling hazards.

View current citations here.