The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Greg Sikes LLC, doing business as Greg Sikes Farm LLC, with two willful and five serious safety violations and proposed penalties of $127,400. The Brooklet farm was inspected in February upon notice that a worker had become entrapped inside a grain handling storage bin while attempting to clear soybeans from a jammed auger.
According to OSHA, two willful violations involve failing to ensure the screw auger is locked out when workers are inside the bin, and provide workers a body harness with a lifeline upon bin entry.
Six serious violations include failing to develop an emergency action plan, provide annual training on grain handling hazards and obtain permits addressing bin entry procedures and requirements. OSHA said the company also failed to equip the workers who entered the bin with rescue equipment, allowed workers to walk on the grain and did not ensure that an observer was stationed outside during bin entry or was equipped to provide assistance in case of an emergency.
Robert Vazzi, OSHA’s area director of the agency’s Savannah Area Office, said “This incident, involving well-recognized hazards within the grain industry, should have been preventable.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.