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OSHA cracks down on Didion Milling for 2020 worker’s death

(NBC15)
Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 2:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 2:55 PM CDT
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CAMBRIA, Wis. (WMTV) -Safety officials fined Didion Milling hundreds of thousands of dollars following the death of one of its managers last year, and in its report blasted Didion Million’s safety procedures.

“Didion Milling’s failure to learn from recent incidents and follow industry standards and their own company policies cost this worker’s life,” said Acting OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago.

In December 2020, 52-year-old Randal Rote went into the grain bin and was found deceased after hours of searching, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

An OSHA investigation found Rote entered the grain bin despite having an external process to remove corn from the clogged silo. It also found those processes should have continued for several more days before allowing anyone to enter the grain bin.

The agency issued four willful and 10 serious safety citations, and proposed $676,808 in penalties. Didion Milling Inc. has until June 25 to request and informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings.

A spokesperson for Didion Milling released a statement in response to OSHA’s investigation stating, “While we respect OSHA and the important work it performs, we disagree with their conclusions and will work with OSHA to address those concerns while always striving to improve our safety program.”

In 2017, an explosion killed five workers and injured more than a dozen others. Didion contested the findings of that investigation. An OSHA spokesperson says contested citations could take up to a year or more after it goes to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

In October 2020, OSHA stated a grain shelf collapsed and nearly engulfed an employee who was cleaning the inside of a grain bin.

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