Ag News -
State Ag News
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 07:13
By Amy Bickel - The Hutchinson News -
The latest elevator accident in Kansas occurred in February when an explosion at Arlington's Cairo Co-op Equity Exchange injured an employee.
The explosion occurred at 7:24 a.m. Feb. 2 at the Arlington elevator, which is just off K-61 in the small Reno County town. Employee Tyler Stejskal was going inside the elevator to prepare for an inspection when the explosion occurred.
The explosion blew out windows in the headhouse and a large metal, rolling overhead door at ground level. Stejskal was taken to a Via Christi burn unit in Wichita.
An Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation is ongoing into what caused the accident, said Arlington's manager, Dave Smith. He hopes, however, to have something to release before wheat harvest.
Crews are still working on repairing the elevator, which is expected to be done by the time combines are rolling in Reno County.
A routine OSHA inspection after the explosion shows the company was cited for nine serious safety violations that could result in nearly $30,000 in fines, according to OSHA reports. The violations are not necessarily related to the explosion.
Cairo can still contest the OSHA action, which OSHA inspectors filed April 25.
It is Cairo's second incident in a year. Last June, according to an OSHA document, a worker with Cunningham-based Cairo was transferring herbicide into a tank and was sprayed by the chemical. The worker died three months later.
In follow-up inspections after the accident, OSHA cited Cairo for four serious violations and $17,000 in fines. The OSHA document notes there was an informal settlement.
Cairo has recently requested consultation in the Kansas Department of Labor's SHARP program - a voluntary safety assistance program, said Lead SHARP Coordinator Ken Bieker.
Meanwhile, Bieker's agency is currently working with 15 elevator officials to get their facilities qualified.
There have been more than 600 explosions at grain elevators in the past 40 years, according to OSHA. Those explosions have killed 250 people and injured more than 1,000. In 2011, an explosion in northeast Kansas during fall harvest killed six and injured two.
The nation's deadliest explosion also occurred in Kansas, on June 8, 1998, when an explosion at DeBruce Grain in Wichita left seven dead and 10 others injured, OSHA reports.