Grain elevator company charged

July 27, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Tempel Grain Elevators Tuesday morning with aiding and abetting and violating federal work safety regulations resulting in the death of a teenage boy.

The charges come almost two years after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused the company of violating safety regulations and ordered it to pay a $1.6 million fine, the second largest total in Colorado for labor and safety fines at the time.

Cody Rigsby, 17, an employee of Tempel Grain Elevators, died May 29, 2009, after he climbed inside a grain bin in Haswell, Colorado, became engulfed in the grain and then asphyxiated.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is charging the company with violating at least eight safety¬†regulations. Tempel Grain “did not develop or implement an emergency action plan as required” and “did not provide any training to employees who worked at the Haswell Grain Elevator on the safety and health hazards associated with the grain industry,” according to court documents.

 

The company also failed to close and lock out the chute to a bin when employees were inside and failed to provide employees entering a bin with a harness or boatswain’s chair and to station a trained observer near the bin, the charges allege.

Kelly Spitzer, vice president and principal owner of Tempel Grain, learned of the charges Tuesday morning and declined to comment on them immediately.

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