OSHA

ATCHISON, Kan. — The federal watchdog for workplace safety is engaged in an investigation of how and why an Indiana man died last week while working at a grain processing plant outside Atchison, Kansas.

A spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an office of the U.S. Department of Labor, confirmed that an investigation has been opened about the incident, which occurred a little before noon on Sept. 6, at the CargillAg plant at S.W. 258th Road and U.S. Highway 59 in the area of Cummings, Kansas.

OSHA responds to all reported workplace fatalities in the United States. Federal law provides six months for such investigations to be complete, the spokesman said. This would involve a release of information at a time of around March 2020, if not before.

The spokesman said OSHA doesn’t comment on the cause of death in such incidents in the wake of an investigation being opened; the cause of death has been reported by the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office and the Atchison County Emergency Management office to have been electrocution.

Sheriff Jack Laurie communicated via email on Monday that the victim, Angel Silas-Deleon, 26, of Logansport, Indiana, died after an electric shock of unknown cause affected the grain bin he had been working on with a contractor crew retained by Cargill from CCSGroup of Seward, Nebraska. The shock also harmed another man on the crew; his employer said he is recovering from his injuries.

“Our CCS family lost a special co-worker, and we are praying for another, as he recovers from his injuries due to an accident this past Friday,” the company said in a statement. “We wish their families peace and comfort during this difficult time. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the Atchison County EMS, Atchison County Rescue and the Atchison Fire Department who were the first responders at the scene. Our company focus at this time is to care for those affected and ensure that our employees’ future is safe.”

Atchison County EMS and a LifeNet medical helicopter evacuated the two victims, who each received CPR after being hoisted out of the grain bin, to regional medical facilities. Laurie said that further information on the survivor’s condition and identity isn’t available.

“The exact cause of the accident is uncertain at this time, but there is nothing to suspect foul play,” Laurie said. “It is apparent that it is accidental.”

Calls to a CargillAg spokesperson on Friday and Monday didn’t obtain a reply by late Tuesday. The company, a family-run enterprise, is the largest non-publicly-traded corporation in the country. It is based in Wayzata, Minnesota, part of the greater Minneapolis area.

Marcus Clem can be reached via marcus.clem@atchisonglobenow.com or @AdAstraGorilla on Twitter.