An OSHA investigation has discovered that a lack of preventative maintenance is to blame for the April explosion at Archer-Daniels-Midland Company's West Plant. The explosion resulted in three employees suffering burns, additional injuries, and having to be taken to the hospital. The investigation determined that the explosion suppression system of a bucket elevator, which did not receive proper maintenance, was non-functional and in a state of disrepair. The system had not been inspected or tested since 2016. The company has been cited for two willful, one serious and one other-than-serious health and safety violations. As a result, Archer-Daniels-Midland will have to pay $324,796 in penalties.
In a recent quote, OSHA Area Director Edward Marshall said, "ADM knows the important role maintenance and testing plays in protecting the lives and health of their workers and their property from two previous explosions and yet failed to follow common industry practices and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards to maintain these protective systems. Agriculture dust can explode in mere seconds when an ignition source is readily available. Dispersion of the dust particles can lead to rapid combustion known as deflagration. It causes explosions, worker injuries and extensive damage, as we saw in this case."