Silo collapse

Wilcox Farms cited this year for safety violations at feed mill

Staff writerDecember 3, 2013 

The company that operates a Roy feed mill where a worker is missing and presumed dead in a silo collapse was cited earlier this year for safety violations at the site, state records show.

Wilcox Farms was ordered to pay $10,000 in penalties for seven safety violations found during a June 27 inspection of its operation on McNaught Street, according to the state Department of Labor & Industries.

Attempts to reach Wilcox Farms officials for comment were not immediately successful. Representatives at the feed mill Tuesday expressed concern for the missing employee but did not respond to questions.

Six of the violations were deemed “serious,” meaning they were “likely to result in serious injury or death,” the records show.

The violations included problems with the north corn tank that collapsed Monday afternoon, spilling thousands of pounds of grain. A worker at the site is thought to be buried in the corn and is presumed dead.

The missing worker and a manager were working outside the silo when its support system gave way. The manager ran west and escaped safely. The missing worker ran east and could not be located after the incident, firefighters said.

The company appealed the June citations but was ordered to pay the full amount, Labor & Industries spokeswoman Elaine Fischer said Tuesday. Wilcox Farms has paid the fines and made the necessary corrections to address the violations, Fischer said.

State inspectors said Wilcox Farms “did not ensure that minimum precautions were met when employees entered and occupied grain storage structures” and did not fully inform employees of the hazards of entering a containment pit and the north corn tank.

The company was “cited for not having adequate rescue and emergency services available before entering the permit-required confined spaces of the containment pit and the north corn tank,” state inspectors wrote.

“Injuries and/or death could result from exposure to an oxygen deficiency, hydrogen sulfide, combustion of grain dust or mechanical hazards in the confined space,” the records show.

The company also was assessed a $2,700 penalty in 2012 for “failing to ensure the employees load and unload motor vehicles safely,” records show.

Wilcox Farms corrected the violation and appealed the penalty, which was reduced to $1,350.

 

 

 

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