In our last post we discussed the serious personal injuries suffered by a manufacturing worker who was by a piece of exploding PVC piping which was improperly used to transport compressed air. While it is unclear whether that worker was severely injured enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, serious accidents which permanently injure workers are relatively common in Portland and throughout the country.
One recent worker injury involves a man whose leg and arm were severely injured at a grain handling facility. Authorities say that the worker was caught in a sweep auger, which is a large, unguarded screw auger which pushes grain in a large bin into a sump. It is unclear whether the employee will be able to return to work or whether he is permanently disabled due to his severe injuries.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the grain facility for safety violations in connection with this serious workplace accident. The proposed fines and penalties total $95,920 and the business has 15 days to pay the fines or contest its citations.
“Despite awareness of the hazardous nature of grain bin entries and of the means and methods to prevent such hazards, the employer failed to develop and enforce recognized safe work practices,” said Tom Deutscher an OSHA area director.
The serious violations allegedly found by the OSHA inspectors include employees entering confined spaces and grain bins. Several repeat safety violations were also found at the facility including using unapproved electrical equipment.
Source: OSHA, “US Department of Labor’s OSHA fines LaBolt, SD, Farmers grain company more than $95,000 for exposing workers to unsafe working conditions,” Region 8 News Release: 11-1802-DEN, Dec. 30, 2011