The U.S. Department of Labor has reached an agreement with the grain bin operator involved in the accident where two teens in Mount Carroll died.
25 citations issued to Haasbach LLC have been resolved, more than two years after Wyatt Whitebread, 14, and Alex Pacas, 19, died inside a grain bin at the Consolidated Grain and Barge Company, 10650 Mill Road.
William "Will" Piper, 20 at the time of the accident, and a 15-year-old were also working inside the grain bin.
"This tragedy has had a profound effect on the community of Mt. Carroll and the grain industry nationwide," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "We hope that the deaths of these two young men send a profound and unmistakable message throughout the grain industry that loss of life can and must be prevented."
The investigation shows the young workers were inside the bin trying to make sure the corn was flowing properly when they all became trapped 30 feet under the corn, causing Whitebread and Pacas to suffocate.
OSHA cited Haasbach for 12 willful, 12 serious and one other-than-serious violation of the agency's grain standards. Following the agreement reached in this case, which was approved by an administrative law judge of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the company must pay $200,000 in penalties, an amount amended from the original fines assessed. Haasbach is no longer in business.
A separate investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found that Haasbach violated the Fair Labor Standards Act's child labor provisions by employing workers under age 18 to perform hazardous jobs that are prohibited by the FLSA. Under the agreement, Haasbach will pay $68,125, the full civil money penalty originally assessed as a result of those violations.
"It is against the law to put the health and well-being of minors at risk by requiring them to perform prohibited hazardous jobs," said Nancy Leppink, deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. "It is the employer's responsibility to know and adhere to child labor laws and regulations. If violators decide not to follow the law, they should know that the Wage and Hour Division will not hesitate to use all available tools, including litigation, to pursue those who put young workers in harm's way."
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