The family of a man killed in a soybean plant explosion has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging the company’s negligence led to the man’s death.
The Argus Leader reported that Randy Lee Satter, a 39-year-old employee of CCM Welding Repair and Fabrication of Minneota, Minnesota, had been sent to the South Dakota Soybean Processors plant in Volga to install a catwalk on an industrial tank. According to the lawsuit, Satter was allowed to “drill, cut, grind and weld in the location and during the construction of the catwalk” under a “hot work permit” given to him when he arrived at the plant on Nov. 5, 2015.
As Satter was installing the catwalk, the industrial tank suddenly exploded. Satter died of the injuries sustained from both the explosion and the subsequent 30-foot-fall.
The explosion prompted an investigation Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which didn’t find any fault with the plant or Satter’s employer.
“The controlling employer did not assess and identify that the material within the tank produced flammable vapors and failed to warn the contractor performing the welding activities,” OSHA stated in the investigation report. “The controlling contractor did not identify flammability levels through the use of atmospheric direct reading instrumentation during an initial assessment or continuous monitoring to ensure the material within the tank would not produce flammable vapors that could result in a fire or explosion.”
OSHA fined both companies, however, for additional unrelated safety violations. CCM was fined $11,200, and Soybean Processors was slapped with a $25,510 for seven “serious violations” identified by the administration.
Despite OSHA’s findings, the family is now suing over the economic losses the family has endured, as well as the loss of “Randy’s love, support, comfort, aid, counsel, society, companionship, guidance and services,” the lawsuit states.