ATCHISON, Kansas – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Bartlett Grain Company LP have signed a comprehensive settlement requiring the company to implement safeguards, training, and audit procedures at its 20 grain handling facilities in six states.
The agreement resolves contested citations issued by OSHA in April 2012 after six individuals were killed and two injured as a result of an October 2011, explosion at the Atchison grain elevator. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Bartlett Grain has agreed to pay $182,000 in penalties.
“By agreeing to the terms of this settlement, Bartlett Grain Company has made a commitment to invest in its employees, and work with OSHA to follow best practices, and make significant changes at its facilities nationwide,” said OSHA’s Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille. “OSHA will ensure that Bartlett Grain implements its commitment to improve safety for all of its employees under this agreement.”
The agreement requires Bartlett to review its safety and health management system and consult with industry experts to conduct a detailed audit of the system’s effectiveness. Bartlett will also give its internal Safety Manager authority to stop unsafe operations; obtain a qualified third-party to review new installations or material modifications to dust filter collectors and grain stream processing equipment; update its housekeeping and preventative maintenance programs; enhance its training procedures; and report to OSHA on a quarterly basis throughout the term of the agreement.
The company has agreed to work with OSHA, the independent Grain Elevator and Processing Society, and the National Grain Feed Association to educate employees on hazards and share best practices for employee training and education. In addition, Bartlett grain will supplement their annual employee grain training with outreach and training on grain engulfment and rescue to first responders and community members, including independent farmers, following any grain engulfment incidents within a 60-mile radius of any one of their facilities for a period of three years. Bartlett will also acquire and maintain grain bin rescue tubes at all locations.
Bartlett will install and require the use of fall protection for workers on top of railcars contiguous to or inside a structure and within a loading zone. Overhead protection systems will be installed at all facilities where grain is loaded onto railcars.
In all, there are nineteen enhanced abatement items for which Bartlett must adhere for a period of three (3) years from the date of the agreement in order to comply with the terms of the settlement. In addition to those discussed above, the company must also update its electronic safety system to facilitate and track safety policies, procedures, and training. Written Emergency Actions Plans must be updated for each operating grain facility, to include updated maps and employee accountability. Also, before making any new installations or significant modifications to dust filter collectors, Bartlett must consult with a qualified third-party to evaluate the design or modification for potential safety impacts.