According to the lawsuit, liquid feed manufacturer Agridyne LLC failed to provide the workers with Safety equipment that could have prevented their deaths. The families filed the claim in Tazewell County Circuit Court in October 2015, and are seeking damages in excess of $50,000. A hearing was scheduled for February 25 to address the company’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Dean Stone and Frank Rosebur were working at Agridyne’s Pekin, Illinois, facility when they were killed due to hydrogen sulfide gas exposure in June 2014. Rosebur was overcome by the gas while cleaning out residue in a railroad tank car. Tank inspector Stone died while attempting to rescue Rosebur.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the incident and reported their findings in January 2015. OSHA found both workers were unequipped with an emergency retrieval system before entering the railcar.
Agridyne was cited for three willful and eight serious safety violations. A willful violation is one that is committed with indifference to workers’ health and safety and an intentional disregard for legal requirements. Serious violations are those in which death or physical injuries can occur due to a danger an employer knew or should have known about.
The agency also proposed penalties of $266,000. Thomas Bielema, OSHA’s Peoria, Illinois, area director, said, “Atmospheric conditions must be tested and monitored before workers enter. The employer must also ensure that Safety Equipment, such as a retrieval line, is provided to employees and used. This was a terrible incident that was completely preventable.”