The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

February 6, 2012

OSHA hits Zaloudek Grain with fines following accident

KREMLIN — Zaloudek Grain Co., where two teens lost legs when they were caught in a grain auger last August, has been hit with additional fines for violations of federal safety laws.

U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office in Dallas last week handed down $21,500 in penalties in addition to those imposed by the Oklahoma City area office in late December.

“Employers who endanger the lives and limbs of their workers will be held accountable for putting them at risk,” said John Hermanson, OSHA regional administrator in Dallas. “In this case, the lives of two teenagers will never be the same.”

The two teens injured in the Aug. 4, 2011, accident, Bryce Gannon and Tyler Zander, both 17, were hospitalized in Oklahoma City for weeks afterward.

The new citations announced by OSHA’s Dallas regional office are for violations include failing to affix or secure the machine guard over the moving conveyor auger, failing to ensure the storage structure’s exit was free and unobstructed, failing to provide exit signs from the storage structure and failing to provide training for workers assigned to enter grain structures.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability death or serious injury could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, said Elizabeth Todd, spokeswoman for the Department of Labor.

Zaloudek Grain, which employs about six workers at the Kremlin facility, has 15 business days from receipt of these citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Oklahoma City or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The earlier $12,000 in penalties — which Zaloudek is contesting — were imposed by OSHA’s Oklahoma City area office as part of a separate, comprehensive safety inspection of the Kremlin facility under the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities. That inspection uncovered five serious violations.

Tyler and Bryce are suing Zaloudek Grain for negligence.

Zaloudek is suing its workers’ compensation company, CompSource Oklahoma, claiming breach of contract. CompSource Oklahoma has not paid the medical bills because the insurance company had canceled Zaloudek’s policy before the accident took place.

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