According to local authorities, a mysterious explosion at an Indiana grain silo killed an employee on Monday afternoon. Workplace safety officials have launched an investigation into the cause of the workplace fatality.
The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release explaining that the explosion happened in a concrete grain silo at the Union Mills Co-op.
The man who was fatally injured was an employee working in the silo when the blast occurred. The other Union Mills employees have been located and identified, and no other workplace injuries have been reported since the initial accident. While the exact cause of the explosion has not been officially determined, local authorities and industrial injury attorneys suspect that hazardous chemicals are involved.
The grain silo is located about 50 miles south of Chicago, and includes a large number of both grain and fertilizer storage facilities, according to the Deputy Sheriff Neil Lachmund. Fertilizer plants are notorious for workplace hazards, as many recently learned in the recent fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
The Indiana chapter of OSHA is currently investigating, although it has no record of any inspections at the co-op.
Professor Steven Wettschurack, a farm and workplace safety expert at Purdue University, explains that concrete silos are highly volatile because they seal so tightly. Grain dust is quite dangerous, and a very tiny spark — even from the strike of a common hammer — can ignite a blast, Wettschurack says.
Website for the Department of Labors Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that over 500 explosions at grain facilities across the U.S. have killed 180 people and injured more than 675 since 1980. Grain dust is the number one cause of explosions.
Workplace Fatality and Injury Attorneys
Workers having trouble collecting injury benefits from L&I should contact a Seattle Workers’ Compensation Attorney. Emery Reddy can represent your interests in you have a Third Party Injury Claim or need to complete an Independent Medical Examination.