Bloomberg Law
March 17, 2023, 8:14 PM

Religious Colony’s OSHA Citations for Grain Bin Death Voided

Bruce Rolfsen
Bruce Rolfsen

The death of a worker at his South Dakota religious colony’s farm didn’t violate OSHA rules because the worker was a colony member, not an employee, an administrative law judge said.

The decision released Friday will be reviewed by the full US Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, which could reverse the judge’s conclusion. The review could take several months.

In his order vacating the citations and $7,802 fine against Poinsett Hutterian Brethren Inc. of Estelline, S.D., Judge Brian Duncan pointed to testimony that showed none of the 58 church/colony members received any money for their work.

Duncan noted that ...