Nov 25, 2009 4:45 AM by David Ortiviz

Fines imposed after teen dies in grain elevator

A Southeastern Colorado grain elevator company is facing a fine of more than $1.6 million after the death of a teenage worker.

Federal investigators say Cody Rigsby, 17, suffocated in a grain elevator owned by Tempel Grain LLC back in May.

Tempel Grain, which is based in Kiowa County operates 14 grain elevators on the plains.

The U.S. Department of Labor says it found labor violations including poor safety practices, underage workers and teens working prohibited jobs or hours.

"It didn't dawn on me that they would send these boys in someplace where they could be crushed by grain, without some kind of safety equipment," said Virontka Rigsby, Cody's mother.

Rigsby says she's glad Tempel Grains is being held accountable, but says it doesn't erase her pain. "I don't think I'm ever gonna be at peace about this, I envision my little boy at the bottom of the pit struggling for breathe and he can't," said Rigsby

Tempel Grain is now reviewing the report. Kelly Spitzer, a spokesperson for Tempel Grain, said in a written statement: "The tragic accident involving our friend and employee, Cody Rigsby, deeply affected our company and our community. We continue to extend our sympathies and prayers to cody's family and many friends." Spitzer says her lawyer advised her not to comment on the investigation by OSHA.

For more information on the alleged violations read the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's news release.



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