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OSHA decides to reduce fines and penalities against grain company

In 2011, a serious explosion took the lives of six workers at a grain storage facility. Recently, OSHA released a report that revealed that hefty fines and citations had been significantly reduced and modified. Bartlett Grain, which has facilities in Missouri, has stated its intentions to improve working conditions at all of its locations.

In the time since the deadly blast, OSHA has purportedly conducted a thorough review of the grain storage company's procedures and practices. Shortly after its initial review, it proposed fines in excess of $400,000 and classified several violations as being serious in nature. However, just a few weeks ago, the federal agency announced that it has reduced those fines to approximately $182,000 and reclassified some of the citations as a less serious violations.

For its part, the company has agreed to revise its practices at all 20 of its facilities and will make quarterly reports to OSHA for the next 36 months. The company has further agreed to review its policies concerning health and welfare for its employees and authorize site safety managers to correct inadequate operations when they are noticed. The revised fines and citations will require final approval from an administrative law judge once the comment period has expired.

Some of the family members of the workers who perished in the explosion that occurred at the Atchison, Kansas facility expressed disappointment with the reclassification of some of the fines from willful to unclassified as it may appear to lessen the culpability of the company. When those workers died, some of the surviving family members did file civil suits against the company that were later settled. Missouri families who lose loved ones in work-related accidents are entitled to seek all of the benefits from the workers' compensation program to which they may be entitled, but a civil suit may be more appropriate. An attorney who has successfully filed these claims can provide guidance and advice as to the best manner in which to proceed with valid claims.

Source: kansascity.com, "Bartlett Grain fines for Kansas explosion slashed by OSHA", Mark Davis, Dec. 20, 2017

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