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OSHA Fines Listed In Deadly Kansas Grain Dust Blast

A federal workplace safety watchdog agency is proposing fines of some $400 thousand be levied against owners of an Atchison, Kansas grain elevator that exploded last October, killing six men working there.

Bartlett Grain Company is accused of “willful” and “serious” violations.

Elevator owners have 15 days to contest the findings of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agency’s investigation found the company used inappropriate electrical gear where grain dust existed and allowed the explosive dust to build up.  Other findings included failing to turn off ignition sources when removing accumulated dust.

In a prepared  statement, U. S. Labor secretary Hilda Solis said the deaths  “could have been prevented” if the operators had “addressed hazards well known in this industry.”  Six workers died when a thunderous blast ripped through the elevator on Atchison’s South side.

Barlett officials deny any violations were willful and say they will contest the fines and findings.

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