Feds Cite Atchison Grain Elevator After Explosion

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Thursday, April 12, 2012

The owner of a northeast grain elevator has been cited after an explosion killed six workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor cited Bartlett Grain Co. L.P. for the October 2011 blast.

Five willful violations include allowing grain dust to accumulate, using compressed air to remove dust without first shutting down ignition sources, jogging inside bucket elevators to free legs choked by grain, using electrical equipment inappropriate for the working environment and failing to require employees to use fall protection when working from heights.

Hilda Solis, labor secretary said the deadly blast could have been prevented if the elevator's operators addressed hazards.

"Bartlett Grain's disregard for the law led to a catastrophic accident and heartbreaking tragedy for the workers who were injured or killed, their families and the agricultural community," Solis said.

Eight serious violations involve a lack of proper preventive maintenance, certification and lubrication of grain handling equipment; inadequate emergency action plan training for employees and contractors; a lack of employee and contractor training on job hazards; and a housekeeping program that was deficient because it did not prevent grain dust accumulations.

The company could pay more than $400,000 in proposed fines.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Residents of Atchison are looking forward to the opening of a new grain elevator, which will replace a Bartlett Grain Co. elevator destroyed by a fatal explosion.

The company announced it would rebuild soon after an explosion last October killed six and seriously injured two others. The concrete was poured last Friday, and the grain elevator is expected to open in September. Bartlett is contracting grain from farmers for this year's harvest.

The elevator will have a capacity of 1 million bushels of grain, 20
percent more than the old elevator. Bartlett officials say new technology will significantly improve unloading speeds.

City Manager Trey Cooking says the elevator construction is like a rebirth for the city.

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