OSHACentral Ready Mix LLC has been cited for 10 serious safety violations by OSHA after a 39-year-old plant operator was fatally engulfed in a fly-ash storage silo on Aug. 6 at the Middletown, Ohio gravel company.

The worker entered the cone-bottom silo in an attempt to break up clumps of fly ash that had clogged the bottom discharge. After attempts to dislodge clumps with a metal bar and air hose did not work, he climbed into the silo, without a harness and lanyard, and devoted several hours to breaking up the clumps before being engulfed.

Ten serious violations involve several violations of OSHA's confined space permit entry requirements, including failing to evaluate a workplace for permit-required confined spaces; develop a written permit space entry program, including signage; create measures to prevent unauthorized entry; provide necessary equipment; train workers on procedures; and develop a permit issuance system and procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services. Other violations include failing to ensure workers use harnesses with retrieval lines attached; address unsafe catwalks; correct an unguarded floor hole in the silo catwalk; and use flexible electrical cords properly. Proposed fines total $55,800.

OSHA's permit-required confined space standard establishes procedures to protect workers who must enter, work in or exit spaces with configurations that hinder their activities. In addition, the configurations of such spaces may increase workers' exposure to hazards, such as entrapment, engulfment and/or hazardous atmospheric conditions, which can lead to serious physical injury, illness or death.

For more information see www.osha.gov/doc/outreachtraining/htmlfiles/cspace.html.

Engulfment is one of the six major hazards present in silo-type storage facilities.