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Colo. farm fined $24K after employee drowned in manure pit

“If required guarding had been installed, this worker’s life could have been spared.”

LASALLE, Colo. — Months after a truck driver drowned in a manure pit, federal investigators said that a northern Colorado dairy farm “failed” at protecting its employees.

Juan Panzo Temoxtle, 44, died March 31 at the hospital after falling into the pit at the Shelton Land and Cattle facility in LaSalle. He was offloading manure in the 12-foot-deep pit when his truck fell in, trapping him inside the submerged cab.

Project to Protect Food System Workers, an advocacy group for Colorado agriculture workers, said Temoxtle was trapped inside the truck for 30 minutes before workers were able to get the truck free from the pit using a forklift.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined the farm did not have the proper infrastructure to protect staff from drowning or crushing hazards.

“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.”

Credit: GoFundMe
Juan Panzo Temoxtle

RELATED: Father of three drowns in manure pit while working at Colorado dairy

OSHA also found the facility did not have a hazard communication program and failed to train workers on hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

The company now faces $24,575 in penalties.

Temoxtle, a father of three, started working for Shelton Dairy Corp. six weeks before his death. His family lives in Mexico.

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