Colorado dairy Farm Operator Cited After Vacuum Truck Driver Suffers Fatal Injuries in Unguarded Manure Pit


Lasalle, CO ( - A federal workplace safety investigation into the death of a 44-year-old worker, who drowned when the vacuum truck he was driving entered an unguarded manure holding pit, concluded that a LaSalle dairy farm failed to protect its workers from drowning and chemical hazards.

 The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Shelton Land and Cattle Ltd. - doing business as Shelton Dairy Corp. - following its investigation of the March 30, 2021, incident. OSHA determined that the employer 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 proposed penalties.

Inspectors learned that the driver was offloading manure when the truck drove into the 12-foot deep pit, trapping the worker inside the submerged cab. The worker died the following day in a nearby hospital.  

“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.”

Shelton Land and Cattle operates a dairy farm with about 2,800 heads of cattle and 65 employees.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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