A 28-year-old worker lost a leg after stepping into a moving auger in a grain bin at Ellsworth Co-op in Ellsworth, KS on Sept. 19, multiple news organizations reported. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is opening an investigation into the incident.
Using hydraulics and electric saws, rescue crews worked for almost two hours to free the man from the machinery, Ellsworth fire chief Bob Kepka told the Salina [KS] Journal. The man’s leg was later amputated at an area hospital, reported the Associated Press (AP).
“Workers should never enter grain bins while augers are operating,” OSHA’s area director in Wichita, KS, Judy Freeman, said in a press release. “Our thoughts are with this worker who has suffered a life altering injury that was preventable by following OSHA safety standards.”
Larry Sheridan, the general manager and president of the co-op, offered no comment when interviewed by the AP on Tuesday.
Ellsworth fire chief Kepka told the Journal that the worker was conscious for most of the rescue and was in “very serious condition.”.
“The main point is this is under no circumstance should anyone be going into a grain bin with an operating auger. Not only is it against the rules, it’s dangerous. It’s definitely a preventable accident,” Scott Allen, an OSHA spokesman, said in the Journal’s article.