Grain elevatorsA 51-year-old worker was fatally injured when he became engulfed in flowing grain in a railcar load-out elevator at Prairie Ag Partners. The worker was killed when attempting to remove a jam from a chute while the auger was moving. OSHA cited the Lake Preston, S.D., company for multiple violations, many involving OSHA's grain handling, permit-required confined space and fall protection safety regulations. Proposed penalties total $120,120.

"A worker can be completely submerged in flowing grain within a matter of seconds. That is what happened in this case, and a worker paid with his life," said Eric Brooks, OSHA's area director in Bismarck. "If Prairie Ag Partners had followed basic safety standards, this tragic incident could have been prevented."

OSHA cited Prairie Ag for allowing employees inside the grain bin while the auger and conveyor systems were operating, failing to complete a confined space entry permit before allowing workers to enter grain bins, and failing to provide fall protection for workers around an unguarded floor opening. For more information on protecting workers who must enter grain bins, see OSHA's Grain Handling Web page.