Families of four of the six workers killed last year in a grain-dust explosion in Kansas have filed wrongful-death suits. The lawsuits come a month after Bartlett Grain Co. announced its intentions to create a memorial for the six men. This plan has drawn strong criticism from a victim’s family, who claim this is nothing more than a public relations stunt.
The parents of one man that died in the explosion stated, “As an alternative to Bartlett spending monies to erect a memorial, it would be our recommendation that Bartlett invest in an extensive safety program designed to prevent another tragedy.”
The suits allege that Bartlett employees “issued directives that displayed a knowing or voluntary” disregard” for the safety and health of workers who were killed. The allegations are similar to those made by health and safety officials, who accused Bartlett of willfully ignoring workplace rules before the explosion; and they also proposed $406,000 in fines.
The Secretary of Labor said that the “deaths of these six workers could have been prevented had the grain elevator’s operators addressed hazards that are well-known in this industry.” The families claim that the elevator had no emergency action plan or adequate alarm system and workers were not properly trained to get rid of the combustible dust that led to the explosion.
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
Wrongful-death lawsuits filed in Atchison grain elevator blast, Kansascity.com, August 29, 2011