CAMBRIA, Wis. - The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is fining Didion Milling in Cambria, Wisconsin $676,000 and issuing 14 citations against the company for grain-handling safety violations. These penalties come after the December 2020 death of a manager at the facility.
A news release from OSHA on Monday, June 7 says after a worker who was clearing corn debris from an unsafe silo failed to arrive for a regularly scheduled meeting, employees called 911 when they could not find him at the silo, nor reach him by phone. It took emergency services nine hours to recover the body of the 52-year-old manager, found engulfed in the silo operated by Didion Milling.
The OSHA investigation found the manager entered the unsafe grain bin despite recently having an external process underway to remove corn from the clogged silo. OSHA also determined that the external process 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, most involving requirements for safe entry into grain storage structures, and proposed $676,808 in penalties.
Didion Milling’s recent history includes a May 2017 explosion that killed five workers and injured as many as 15 others, and a large grain shelf collapse in October 2020 that nearly engulfed an employee who was cleaning the inside of a grain bin.
Sun Prairie-based Didion Milling has been in operation since 1972. The company operates a corn milling and biofuels facility in Cambria and production facilities in Markesan and Johnson Creek.
Didion issued the following statement:
"The loss of a member of our Didion work family is tragic and leaves a lasting impact. Our hearts remain with our team member’s family. 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. OSHA’s regulations establish the base for our safety programs, but our commitment to safety goes well beyond OSHA requirements. We will remain steadfastly committed to safety as we move forward."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.