OSHA Proposes $1.8 mil. in Fines for WI Milling Co.

Cambria, WI – OSHA has proposed a total of $1,837,861 in fines after five workers were killed in a May 31 explosion at Didion Milling Co, caused by what an OSHA regional administrator claimed, were “hazards that are well-known in this industry.”

A subsequent OSHA investigation revealed multiple willful violations and details about what led to the blast. Didion Milling, a company known for storing, milling and transporting corn, as well as ethanol product, failed to correct numerous fire and explosion hazards, according to the agency.

 OSHA claims that Didion Milling:
  • Did not make an effort to stop the leakage and accumulation of highly-combustible grain dust throughout the Cambria, Wis. facility or to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources.
  • Employees were not trained at least annually on common ignition methods including electrical and wiring methods. Filter dust collectors were not installed outside of the building, and filters installed inside the facility did not have explosion protection.
  • Did not ensure that pneumatic conveying systems handling combustible dust were grounded. Workers were not provided with personal protective equipment including clothing, respiratory devices or shields.
  • Did not have an emergency protection plan or emergency alarm system.
  • Did not have any written instructions or housekeeping plans regarding combustible grain dust removal.

In a statement, the company said, “Didion does not agree with the severity of the penalties levied against our family-owned business or the conclusions released by OSHA. Didion is continuing to work with industry experts and other agencies to determine the cause of the incident.”