Grain Elevator Accident Kills 1: Equipment Fell Causing Injury
All workers are entitled to the proper training and equipment to avoid workplace hazards and come home safe. Unfortunately, while virtually all accidents are preventable, they sometimes happen anyway. A terrible example of a thoroughly avoidable accident happened in North Dakota last week.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting an investigation into an accident on Oct. 7 near the central North Dakota town of Harvey. The accident resulted in the untimely death of 21-year-old electrician Alex Rall at Prairie Towers Elevator, a grain elevator. Yet the accident did not involve grain or electricity. In fact, the young electrician wasn’t even working at the time.
At the time of the accident, a work crew was attempting to install a distributor unit into the grain elevator. The distributor unit was being suspended by a crane about 120 feet in the air, when a section of a metal chute estimated to weigh between 250 and 300 pounds broke free from the distributor and dropped about 120 feet, landing directly on top of Rall, after he had clocked out, and as he was leaving work for the day. Emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead at the scene, and an autopsy by a North Dakota medical examiner determined that his death was caused by blunt impact trauma to his head, chest, abdomen and pelvis.
Though most OSHA inspectors had been furloughed due to the government shutdown, the seriousness of the situation led to inspectors arriving on the scene the next day to look at what happened.
Someone is responsible for this worker’s death, and the OSHA investigation will shed some light on what exactly happened, and who may be at fault. There are numerous possibilities. It’s entirely possible the crane had a defective design, or wasn’t properly maintained. It’s possible Rall was not properly trained, or that his co-workers weren’t following proper procedures in handling the load, if there were any procedures in place at all. It’s even possible the manufacturer of the distributor unit failed to secure the chute properly. To find out what happened, and who was negligent in this situation will require a lot of information, and a team dedicated to finding out the truth.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed on the job, contact the Texas Workplace Accident Injury Attorney at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible for a free consultation, in order to protect your rights.