US feed company pays out over death of worker at mill

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

US feed company pays out over death of worker at mill

Related tags: Occupational safety and health, Osha

Idaho based Anderson Farms has settled with the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over five safety violations at its feed operations leading to the death of an employee in February.

The worker became entangled in mixing equipment used for cattle feed and died from mass trauma.

David Kearns, area director of OSHA's Boise office, told that a settlement agreement between Anderson Farms and the workplace safety watchdog was completed on 30 May, arising out of an informal conference between the two parties. 

OSHA said it had no prior inspection history with the company. 

It was not clear how much Anderson Farms paid out in terms of fines, but the feed manufacturer faced penalties of $25,200 for the safety breaches.

Asked whether the fines were low considering a fatality occurred, Kearns said that “penalties were assessed according to the OSH Act and our policies, which includes the OSHA Field Operations Manual (FOM).” 

If meaningful and effective safeguards are in place, many tragic incidents like this would be avoided,” ​he added.

Trent Anderson, the owner of the feed firm, told local media that “what we got fined for wouldn’t have prevented the accident.”

Safety violations

Anderson Farms was cited for failure to establish a ‘lockout’ program to disable machinery and procedures to protect workers from moving machine parts during servicing and maintenance.

The employer neglected to provide hardware, such as locks, to prevent unexpected start-ups of equipment, OSHA found.

It was also penalized over not following permit-required confined space regulations and failure to report the death of a worker and keep an OSHA injury and illness log.  

Kearns said the regulator only became aware of the fatality at the feed business through local media coverage. 

US feed business fatalities   

Two workers died in a fire and explosion at the plant of the feed firm, International Nutrition, in Omaha, Nebraska in January this year.

The manufacturer has had a troubled history with OSHA, with the watchdog citing it for 13 safety violations in the past 20 years.

And, September 2011 saw another employee killed in a feed operation in the US. 

The incident took place in a swine feed mill of livestock producer, Murphy Brown, in North Carolina.

The employee was working on an auger motor in the receiving tunnel or pit of a swine feed mill.

To access the motor, he walked across the top of another auger that was enclosed with sheet metal. When the sheet metal failed, he became entangled in the auger and was killed.

OSHA cited the company for nine safety violations.

In November the same year, the owner of Shamrock Mills feed production facility, died of asphyxia after his clothing became entangled in an unused sprocket on a shaft above the floor he was working on.


Related topics: North America, Safety, Regulation

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