These six men were killed a large explosion on Oct. 29, 2011, at the Bartlett Grain elevator in Atchison, Kan. Clockwise from top left: Ryan Federinko, Curtis Field, Travis Keil, Darrek Klahr, John Burke and Chad Roberts (Photos courtesy …
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Four families are suing officials of Kansas City-based Bartlett Grain Company after a grain elevator explosion that killed six people. Four Bartlett employees and two grain elevator inspectors died in the blast in October.
The families of the company employees filed their lawsuits this week. They claim Senior Vice President Bob Knief knowingly let their loved ones work in danger.
Read the lawsuits here: http://bit.ly/PsoJWB & http://bit.ly/Pvuz8i
"They've lost their sons," said attorney Ed Dougherty, who represents the parents of victims Chad Roberts, 20, and Ryan Federinko, 21. "They were relieved to see that the (OSHA) investigation uncovered things that they already believed were going on."
That OSHA investigation, released in April, fined Bartlett more than $400,000 and uncovered things like a lack of safety procedures, emergency action plans and housekeeping procedures to keep combustible grain dust from accumulating.
Read the OSHA report: http://bit.ly/Twg8TH
OSHA stated in their report that employees were told to clean the grain dust with compressed air without turning off the machines that could ignite it.
The report also found that dust did accumulate as far as into the office of the superintendent on the computer keyboard and electrical outlets. In other places, dust accumulated as much as an inch thick.
In a statement, Bartlett claimed this citation was false, insisting the dust got there because of the explosion.
The report also claimed the elevator had equipment that wasn't designed to be used around Class II combustible grain dust. The lawsuit claims the victims were required to work up to 80 hours per week.
The families of the victims want Bartlett to clean up its act.
"They want what has happened there in Acthison to be exposed so people will know this was unnecessary," Daugherty said. "This should have never happened and hopefully it won't happen again."
Bartlett Grain officials wouldn't comment on the lawsuits but re-released a statement from April responding to the OSHA report. Officials say all the citations are flawed, point out no official cause was or could be determined and insist the safety of their employees remains their highest priority.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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