Concerns over workplace safety continue to arise after an explosion last month at Union Mills Co-op in Indiana killed one person and injured two others. Although Indiana’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the possible causes of the explosion, records indicate the OSHA had never inspected the facility before the accident.
67-year-old employee James Swank was working on top of a tower when a large quantity of grain dust exploded and caused him to fall 175 feet to the ground. Grain dust is an incredibly volatile material, especially when sealed in a concrete silo, and can react to even a small spark according to Purdue University farm safety expert Steve Wettschurack.
The June 24 explosion occurred just days after a man in Veedersburg, Indiana suffocated in a grain bin. According to a recent report from Purdue University, suffocation is the most common cause of death at grain storage areas; 21 people died in 2010 after being sucked under the unstable grain. Explosions have also caused untold injury and death. In the past 35 years, OSHA reports more than 180 people have died and 675 have been injured in grain bin explosions.
Funds have dried up for OSHA, forcing a reduction in the number of inspections at grain facilities around the country to one every 99 years. The number has dropped for other workplaces as well–in 2010, there were 4,500 preventable workplace deaths. According to the website of The Benton Law Firm, the U.S. legal system states that any party or person that is responsible for the explosion may be due to pay compensation to cover any medical bills, lost wages, or other relevant costs. If you live in East Texas, your best option would be to contact a Fort Worth Personal Injury Attorney today to learn more about your options.