Department of Labor cites goods transport provider after truck strikes grain yard manager, weeks after federal inspectors warn of hazards

Department of Labor cites goods transport provider after truck strikes grain yard manager, weeks after federal inspectors warn of hazards
May 7th, 2024 | Nebraska Department of Labor

FREMONT, NE – Responding to an employer’s report that a worker needed hospitalization after being struck by a semi-tractor-trailer and suffering severe injuries at a Fremont grain yard, federal workplace safety inspectors identified 23 violations by the worker’s employer, including failing to protect workers from being struck by moving vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned a yard manager employed by Rail Modal Group LLC was directing congested traffic in a storage yard when a passing truck hit her on Jan. 2, 2024. The manager was on the job less than six months at the time.

The incident follows an OSHA investigation opened at the wholesale grain facility on Nov. 6, 2023, after the agency received allegations of unsafe working conditions, including exposure to struck-by vehicle hazards.

Incidents involving transportation and material moving caused more workplace deaths in 2022 than any other hazard, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

After its investigation, OSHA cited Rail Modal Group for violating the agency’s general duty cause for exposing workers to struck-by hazards. In total, OSHA cited the company for 21 serious and two other-than-serious violations related to fall protection, permit-required confined spaces, machine guarding and powered industrial trucks. Inspectors also found the company did not meet OSHA’s grain-handling safety standards and failed to employ a hazardous communication program to train workers about hazardous material at the facility.

OSHA assessed the company $261,375 in proposed penalties.

“Being struck by moving vehicles is one of the most deadly and common hazards on job sites. Employers must conduct risk assessments, implement engineering controls and take all necessary precautions to protect workers from this danger,” explained OSHA Area Director Matt Thurlby in Omaha, Nebraska. “Employers who implement safety and health programs that address the hazards unique to their operations and train workers on how to avoid injuries can help prevent similar tragedies and ensure all workers go home safely at the end of their shifts.”

OSHA provides information on grain hazards, confined space, fall protection and hazardous communication for use by employers to understand how to protect workers from potential safety and health hazards.

Based in Latham, New York, Rail Modal Group provides supply-chain transportation solutions focused on protein and agricultural exports through key gateway ports. The company opened its first inland port terminal in Fremont, and later added facilities in Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.

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.


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