Dairy Hit With OSHA Fines After Fatal Injury

The company was cited for eight serious violations after an employee was lacerated by a sweep auger and died.

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Thiele Dairy for failing to develop and implement safety and health programs related to grain bin entry after an employee suffered fatal injuries. OSHA inspectors determined that an operating sweep auger lacerated an a 52-year-old employee's leg as he attempted to remove corn from inside a grain bin at the Clearwater, Nebraska, dairy. The worker later died at the hospital.

OSHA cited the company for eight serious violations of the grain bin safety standard, and one other-than-serious violation for failing to report the fatality within the required eight hours. "Mechanical equipment inside grain storage structures present serious hazards that are well-known in this industry," said OSHA Area Office Acting Director Matthew Thurlby, in Omaha. "This employer's failure to follow safety requirements led to a tragedy that could have been prevented."

The company faces penalties totaling $78,899.

The dairy – jointy owned by brothers Ron, Tom, and Bill Thiele – 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.