The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a dairy farm located in Colorado for safety violations after a vacuum truck driver suffered fatal injuries in March.
OSHA cited LaSalle, Colorado-based Shelton Land and Cattle Ltd. after investigators determined that the company failed to implement measures to protect employees from drowning or crushing hazards, did not have a hazard communication program, and failed to train workers on hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
The company faces $24,575 in penalties.
The violations were issued in response to the death of 44 year old Juan Panzo Temoxtle.
On March 30, 2021, Temoxtle was driver was offloading manure when he drove his vacuum truck into an unguarded 12-foot deep manure pit, trapping him inside the submerged cab.
The Denver Channel reports that Temoxtle was submerged in the pit for about half an hour before he was rescued and helicoptered out for medical treatment. He passed away the next day from injuries caused by lack of oxygen.
The fatal accident occurred after Temoxtle had been on the job for six weeks. March 30 was the first time that he had driven the manure vacuum truck.
OSHA investigators concluded that “the employer did not ensure that the pit had adequate guarding or curbing to prevent the truck from falling into the manure pit while moving it into position on the push-off platform.”
“Manure pits are known hazards in dairy farming operations,” said OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper in Denver. “If required guarding had been installed, this worker’s life could have been spared.”