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OSHA proposes $630K in fines after grain bin injury in Atlanta, Illinois

Investigators with OSHA responded to the Aug. 15, 2022, injury at Topflight Grain Cooperative in Atlanta, Illinois.
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Investigators with OSHA responded to the Aug. 15, 2022, injury at Topflight Grain Cooperative in Atlanta, Illinois.

The federal workplace safety agency OSHA has proposed nearly $630,000 in fines against a cooperative for allegedly failing to protect workers – including one whose leg was partially amputated last summer at a grain bin in Atlanta, Illinois.

That partial amputation happened Aug. 15 at Topflight Grain Cooperative’s Atlanta facility, about 20 miles southwest of Bloomington-Normal. OSHA says a paddle conveyor was left running when the injured worker and two other employees entered a soybean bin for cleaning. OSHA says the three employees were working over three unguarded holes in the bin which were above the conveyer. OSHA says Topflight failed to place a guard or cover over the holes leading to the equipment, or utilize guardrails or travel restraint systems in order protect the workers from falling into the equipment.

OSHA says Topflight violated its grain-handling safety and lockout/tagout regulations that require powered devices be de-energized before workers enter bins.

This week OSHA announced that it’s proposing $629,946 in penalties for the five alleged violations.

Topflight Grain Cooperative received OSHA citations for similar violations at a different facility in 2021.

“Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. could have prevented this terrible incident, and had been warned about the potential hazards of grain bins when OSHA cited the employer for similar hazards at another facility," OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago said in a statement. "Injuries can happen in seconds but incidents like these can be prevented when employers develop and follow companywide safety procedures each time workers enter grain bins.”

Topflight has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings.

WGLT has reached out to Topflight for a comment on OSHA’s findings.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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