Value-added corn products and ethanol firm Didion Milling issued a statement on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of a combustible dust explosion at the company’s corn wet mill in Cambria, WI that killed several people and injured a dozen others.
“Last May’s incident will stay with each of us forever, and we will never forget. Today, our focus is to honor and remember the team members we lost and those who were injured,” the company said in a press release published on its website. “As we come together to reflect on the day that marks the 1 year anniversary, we are very grateful for the continuous outpouring of support and prayers we have received during the journey to recover and rebuild.”
The dust explosion occurred at the Didion Milling Plant in Cambria at about 11 p.m. on May 31, 2017, fatally harming five workers. 12 workers received minor injuries.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed $1,837,861 in fines against Didion Milling last November, Powder & Bulk Solids reported. OSHA found that the explosion likely resulted from Didion’s failures to correct the leakage and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility and to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources. OSHA cited Didion’s Cambria facility with 14 willful – including eight willful per-instance egregious– and five serious citations, most involving fire and explosion hazards.
This May, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) published an update on its investigation into the incident, noting that “the explosions caused a complete collapse of four of the nine buildings that make up the Didion facility; the remaining five were severely damaged.”
The plant was cited in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for dust explosion and fire hazards, and the agency ordered the company to pay a $3,500 fine, the Associated Press reported.