Flagrant Safety Violations Alleged at Texas Feed Plant: OSHA Charges Hefty Fine

After a follow-up inspection of Thomas Moore Feed in August of 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied a fine of $91,911 against the company. What led to such a large fine?

Thomas Moore Feed is a company that manufacturers animal feed and employs approximately 47 employees. The investigators examining the work site found that the employer repeatedly failed to guard moving machinery and protect employees from falls and grain dust hazards. The company was cited for eight serious violations and two safety violations. The company has a history of this behavior, as shown by similar violations in February of 2015.

Feed Mill Dangers

There are many ways workers in feed mills could face danger due to negligence. Grain handling equipment can lead to crush injuries or amputations if the machines don’t have proper guards. Lack of guardrails or failure to maintain guardrails can cause workers to fall, causing serious traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones and even wrongful death.

Feed mills have other unique dangers as well. The leading cause of death in grain mills is suffocation in grain bins. Workers walking on moving grain or using their feet to clear built up grain can easily fall into the grain. The grain behaves much like quicksand and can suffocate workers.

Another danger of feed bills happens when grain dust builds up in the air. Grain dust is highly combustible and can lead to massive explosions if an ignition source, such as an overheated motor or a misaligned conveyer belt, sparks the dust. In the last 35 years, over 500 grain facility explosions have occurred due to the buildup of grain dust.



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