Steam valve failure kills one, injures one at Iowa plant

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

One person was killed and another injured Tuesday in a steam accident at a soybean processing plant in western Iowa, officials said.

The accident at the Ag Processing Inc. plant in Salix, Iowa, occurred about 1 p.m. when a steam valve failed, chief deputy with the Woodbury County sheriff's office.

The man who was injured remained hospitalized at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City.

Company spokesman Mike Maranell said the accident happened in a boiler room and that damage was limited to the immediate area. The cause of the accident was unknown, he said.

No other information was released.

In August 2003, a fire and explosion at the plant killed two employees and injured six others. That blast was caused by a buildup of hexane gas, which is used to extract oils from seeds and vegetables.

Mark Croghan, 45, of Sioux City, and Kyle Heck, 22, of Hornick, died after the Aug. 29, 2004, explosion.

The state fire marshal determined the blast occurred because of a hexane gas leak, but could not pinpoint what ignited the gas. The plant's power was turned off during maintenance when the explosion occurred.

Hexane gas is used to extract oil from soybeans.

The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the explosion and fined AGP $162,500 for 13 safety violations, which included failure to provide ventilation during the plant shutdown to control the hexane gas. The fines were later reduced to $80,000.

Family members of some of the workers filed lawsuits.


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