Business cited for 10 violations after man engulfed by Middletown silo

Published: Nov. 26, 2013 at 9:32 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM EST
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Photo submitted by FOX19 viewer Jodi Adams.
Photo submitted by FOX19 viewer Jodi Adams.

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A local business has been cited for 10 serious safety violations by the after a 39-year-old plant operator was fatally engulfed in a fly-ash storage silo on Aug. 6 at the Middletown gravel company.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Central Ready Mix LLC on Tuesday.

The worker entered the cone-bottom silo in an attempt to break up clumps of fly ash that had clogged the bottom discharge. After attempts to dislodge clumps with a metal bar and air hose did not work, he climbed into the silo, without a harness and lanyard, and devoted several hours to breaking up the clumps before being engulfed.

"Engulfment is one of the six major hazards present in silo-type storage facilities. Employers can't be assured that entries into a silo without incident will occur," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "This was a terrible, preventable tragedy that underscores the importance of complying with safety precautions, such as using harnesses and lanyards. Employers are responsible for identifying hazards and ensuring workers follow proper procedures to prevent injury or death."

Ten serious violations involve several violations of OSHA's confined space permit entry requirements, including failing to evaluate a workplace for permit-required confined spaces; develop a written permit space entry program, including signage; create measures to prevent unauthorized entry; provide necessary equipment; train workers on procedures; and develop a permit issuance system and procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services. Other violations include failing to ensure workers use harnesses with retrieval lines attached; address unsafe catwalks; correct an unguarded floor hole in the silo catwalk; and use flexible electrical cords properly.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Proposed fines total $55,800.

Central Ready Mix has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

If a company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

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