OSHA Cites Nebraska Fertilizer Plant


Farmers Cooperative has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for one repeat and two serious safety violations at its McCool Junction fertilizer plant following the death of an employee injured on the job.

A 73-year-old employee died days after he fell from a tanker truck he was loading. The incident occurred May 7, and the worker died from his injuries May 13.

"Anyone who has to work at heights above four feet must be protected with fall protection equipment and trained on how to properly use it," said Bonita Winingham, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "Farmers Cooperative failed to implement the basic fall prevention steps that could have prevented this senseless tragedy."

OSHA's investigation found that Farmers Cooperative failed to provide a standard guard rail in the fertilizer plant's batching area and issued one repeat citation for that violation. The company was previously cited for this violation at its facilities in Exeter in 2011 and Wilbur in 2013.

Two serious violations were issued for failing to provide fall protection for employees who were working on top of tanker trucks and not providing railing on stairways. 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.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission. Proposed fines total $84,000.