Dust Explosion Hazards at Grain Operator

Thursday, July 28, 2016 @ 02:07 PM gHale


New Alliance is facing $61,600 in fines for 17 health and safety violations at its Bridgeport, NE, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA investigators issued New Alliance citations for 16 serious and one other-than-serious safety and health violations.

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The citations are the result of February and March investigations initiated under OSHA’s Local Emphasis Program for Grain Handling hazards.

The inspection found:
• Workers exposed to fall hazards up to 15 feet while accessing the tops of rail cars and from ladderway openings and platforms lacking guardrails and open-sided work platforms.
• Employees exposed to grain dust explosion hazards. The employer failed to implement housekeeping procedures to prevent grain dust accumulation in priority and non-priority areas.
• Lack of confined space entry procedures for grain bins including testing the atmosphere, issuing permits, monitoring workers and training.
• Equipment not powered down or locked out to prevent unintentional operation prior to workers entering grain bins.
• Workers not trained at least annually on safe grain-handling procedures.
• Equipment and training were not provided for grain rescue operations.
• Personal protective equipment needs not evaluated.
• Lack of an occupational noise monitoring program including audiometric testing, noise monitoring and fitting and correct use of hearing protection.

“OSHA grain handling standards address the numerous serious and life threatening hazards found in grain bins including grain dust explosions, engulfment and entrapment from flowing grain, falls and amputation hazards,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “OSHA’s safety standards protect workers on the job in this hazardous industry.”

New Alliance handles and processes Great Northern and Pinto dry edible beans at locations in Alliance, Bridgeport, Gering, Hemingford and Mirage Flats. The company is a division of Alliance-based Western Cooperative Company known as WESTCO.