OSHA Cites Tecumseh Facility After Trucker's Death
By Tom Lesyna. CREATED Jul 16, 2014
Tecumseh, NE- (KMTV) OSHA has cited a Johnson County grain handling facility for a dozen safety violations following the death of a truck driver.
OSHA cited the Midwest Farmers Cooperative facility in Tecumseh after investigating an anhydrous ammonia leak March 20th as the 63 year old truck driver transferred the chemical from a semitruck to bulk storage tanks. He later died at a hospital from complications related to ammonia inhalation. Three other workers were injured.
In a press release, OSHA says it cited Midwest Farmers Cooperative with 12 serious violations. Several violations involved OSHA's Storage and Handling of Anhydrous Ammonia Standards, such as failing to provide an ammonia control system; provide employees with chemically impervious clothing; inspect and maintain ammonia equipment and piping to prevent potential leaks and system failure; and develop and train workers in an emergency response plan. The company was cited for storing the chemical in tanks located within 100 feet of a mainline railroad track. Other violations involved respiratory protection standards, such as failing to ensure self-contained breathing apparatus and atmospheric monitoring equipment were provided and used for response to an emergency, as well as for failing to medically evaluate and fit test workers required to use respirators. An OSHA violation is classified as serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
OSHA has proposed penalties of $62,101. The company has contested the citations and requested a hearing before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Midwest Farmers Cooperative was formed in January as the result of a merger between Greenwood Farmers Cooperative and Waverly Farmers Cooperative. OSHA says the company was previously cited twice in 2011 with the issuance of eight citations.