Clinton’s ADM facility hit with nearly $56k in fines after deadly explosion

CLINTON, Iowa -- The ADM facility in Clinton, Iowa is contesting citations after being hit with nearly $56,000 in fines after a firefighter died in the line of duty while battling a fire in a grain silo.

The fire on January 5 fueled an explosion which killed 33-year-old Eric Hosette and injured 23-year-old Adam Cain, firefighters from the Clinton Fire Department.   The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Act reported that the fire had likely been burning for about two days before the explosion.

Months later, an Iowa OSHA investigation revealed several serious citations filed against ADM.  ADM, Archer Daniels Midland Company, has several different locations across the Midwest.  The company works as an agricultural processor and handles bulk materials.

The citations were filed for violations including lack of training, lack of communication, and lack of safety gear.

Click here to read the full Citation and Notification of Penalty

According to the Notification of Penalty filed by OSHA, the company was supposed to abide by an Emergency Action Plan.  Investigators found that on the day of the fire, a person who was not qualified was handling the role of incident commander.

"This condition resulted in inappropriate or incomplete lines of communication," read the citation report.

There was also no clear plan for how employees were expected to work with outside responders, read the report.

"Pertinent information relating to the type, amount and condition of the grain contained in the Silo #2 was not shared with the incoming emergency responders," read the notification.  "An incorrect assessment of the explosion risk and height of bridge product was disseminated to municipal firefighters causing changes to their response... This significantly limited possible strategies to fight the fire."

One of the employees who was leading firefighters to the silo was exposed to hazards because he or she was not wearing the proper safety gear.  ADM was specifically cited for lack of fire training for its employees.

After the fire occurred, the company was supposed to run a review of the response, as a way to identify weak spots in their methods.  According to Iowa OSHA, this review was never done.

The six citations added up to $55,894.

The penalty notification was filed on June 4.  ADM responded to fight the citations within 15 days of the notification, according to the Attorney for the Labor Commissioner Kathleen Uehling.  As of late July 2019 a hearing had not yet been set.

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