HUDSON, S.D. (AP) — Federal investigators have found multiple safety violations at a South Dakota ethanol refinery expansion project following the death of a worker in May.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it cited the worker’s employer, North Dakota-based Bilfinger-Westcon, with five major safety violations.
Investigators found the 38-year-old pipefitter was removing a vent line May 6 when 190-proof ethanol spilled onto him, flowed through a grated floor and was ignited by welding operations on a lower floor. The fire engulfed the man.
Inspectors found Bilfinger-Westcon allowed welding work to occur without ensuring flammable liquids were not present. OSHA also cited the refinery owner, Sioux River Ethanol LLC, which operates as POET Biorefining.
OSHA proposes penalties for both companies.
Bilfinger-Westcon had no immediate comment. A message left at POET Biorefining wasn’t immediately returned.
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