ILLINOIS GRAIN FACILITY FINED BY OSHA AFTER EMPLOYEE DEATH
June 12, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Manteno-based grain facility, Farmers Elevator, Co., just over $200,000 for protecting its employees at its Grant Park facility after the death of an employee in a grain bin. The Farmers Elevator, Co., was also placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
After an OSHA investigation into the incident, the agency found a series of negligent acts by the employer that contributed to the tragic event. This resulted in OSHA citing the company for two willful and three serious violations.
Specifically, OSHA found that the company encouraged its employees to enter grain bins at the facility with unsafe ladders and without body harnesses or lifelines. The company also failed to provide rescue equipment. Finally, OSHA found that the company failed to lockout or disconnect equipment, post an observer prior to employees entering the grain bins, or test atmospheric conditions, which all exposed their employees to engulfment hazards.
This is yet another example of an Illinois employer failing to provide their employees a safe and healthful workplace – and those failings leading to a serious injury or death. However, those injured by unsafe workplace have places to turn other than OSHA for help – even if the injuries sustained aren’t necessarily due to the negligence of an employer.
Once a worker is injured on the job, they likely can qualify for workers’ compensation, and even spouses of workers killed on the job can be entitled to weekly death benefits for life, including minor children and funeral expenses. This system provides much needed money to help cover the employee’s necessary expenses while unable to work.
But, the workers’ compensation system can be complicated, and employers are not always helpful.