Statement from Bob Knief, President of Bartlett Grain Company, regarding OSHA citations:
Bartlett Grain Company today received a set of 13 citations and proposed penalties of $406,000, related to a terrible explosion at our grain elevator in Atchison, KS. While all of the citations are flawed, none of the citations even assert a relationship to the cause of the accident, and indeed the cause cannot be determined. Some of the citations alleged “willful” misconduct by Bartlett Grain. We adamantly disagree with OSHA’s assertions, and we take extreme exception to the willful characterization. We certainly look forward to proving wrong OSHA’s unfortunate citations and characterization.
Here are two important examples: OSHA asserts that there was a hazardous accumulation of dust prior to the accident, however the evidence is clear and incontrovertible that the grain and dust found by OSHA after the incident was deposited by the accident, and could not have been there prior to the accident. OSHA also takes issues with the format of our preventive maintenance records even though that exact format was the result of OSHA guidance directly to the Company in the year 2000.
Bartlett Grain has cooperated fully with OSHA’s inspection. The safety of our employees always has been and continues to be our highest priority. We, of course, will work with OSHA to correct the citations. And with OSHA and on our own, we will continue to ensure that all of our equipment and procedures meet the highest safety standards.
The accident of last October 29th, was the darkest day in Bartlett Grain’s 105 year history. We always will grieve that we cannot restore these men to their families and friends, or their co-workers at Bartlett. From that terrible day, we have believed and stated that we were operating responsibly. We believe that the facts have borne this out, and we are frustrated that OSHA has missed or ignored these facts. Again, we will work with OSHA to establish the truth.