OSHA issued 2nd largest fine in Colorado history

Legal news for Colorado employment attorneys. Temple Grain was issued more than $1.6 million in fines.

Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Wage and Hour Division fined a Colorado grain elevator company $1.6 million in violations.

Kiowa County, CO—The second largest workplace safety fine in Colorado’s history was issued against Temple Grain Elevators after 17-year-old Cody Rigsby was killed while working in grain elevator on May 29th. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) http://www.osha.gov/ and the Wage and Hour Division issued over $1.6 million in fines on Monday, November 23, 2009, as reported by 9News.com.

Cody Rigsby was killed at the Temple Grain’s Haswell grain elevator, when he somehow fell into the elevator and suffocated. His body was not recovered for nearly six hours. OSHA slapped the Wiley-based grain elevator company for several violations at the Haswell site and their headquarters, which included:

• The flow of the grain was not shut off.
• Rigsby was not using the required emergency rescue equipment, like a harness or lifeline.
• No employees were supervising the men working inside the bin.
• Utilizing extension cords as a form of permanent wiring.
• Neglecting to guard conveyors.

A total of 22 alleged willful violations and 13 alleged serious citations were issued at the Haswell grain elevator site. An investigation into the Wiley headquarters uncovered 12 additional workplace safety issues. The Wage and Hour Division reported 77 child labor violations, which was due to the employment of 15 minors. Temple Grain employed a 13-year-old, and 14 to 17-year-old minors, who were operating hazardous equipment and working on roofs of elevators. Temple Grain was also ordered to pay $56,285 in back wages for overtime and minimum wage violations, by the Wage and Hour Division. This is the largest fine issued by the local OSHA office since it was established in 1990, and the second largest in Colorado’s history.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Colorado employment lawyers.