The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced an investigation into an explosion at a Groendyke Transport terminal in Liberal, Kan. According to local news station KSNT, three employees are still in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon due to a flash fire igniting in the terminal’s wash bay on Tuesday.
While the cause of the flash fire is still under investigation, the three employees in the wash bay were with a truck and a tank trailer when the explosion occurred. The tank trailer that may be the cause of the explosion was being cleaned at the time; however, its last contents were condensate, which is a natural gas processing byproduct.
KSNT reports the three employees injured are experiencing degrees of burn injuries and had to be transferred from Southwest Medical Center in Liberal, Kan., to a burn unit in Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. Another employee was not admitted, but received minor burn injuries to their hand.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the three injured employees and their families,” Groendyke Transport President Greg Hodgen told KSNT. “We care a great deal for our employees and their safety, and we are working diligently with investigators to discover the cause of the accident.”
OSHA’s investigation into the incident will include an extensive search of Groendyke’s company records and documents, employee interviews, as well as gathering evidence. If the company is found to be negligent, OSHA may issue serious fines and citations for the explosion.
“We offer our thoughts and prayers to the workers who have suffered injury,” said Judy Freeman, OSHA’s Area Director in Wichita. “A worker is injured on the job every three seconds. Tragically, more than 4,300 workers die each year from work-related causes.”
The Groendyke Transport in Liberal has temporarily relocated to a nearby location in order to continue business. The Liberal terminal was recently recognized by the Kansas Motor Carriers Association for its “outstanding safety record” in 2015, KSNT reported.