A June 24 accident at a Pekin, Illinois, agricultural plant resulted in two workers dying from toxic exposure to carbon monoxide gas. The accident happened shortly after 12:00 p.m., as a pair of men were cleaning a row of railroad tanker cars. One of the men climbed atop a car that was connected to about 12 others sitting on a rail line at the plant. The accident began after the man opened the tanker's hatch. A Pekin Police Department spokesperson says that the man then fell inside of the tanker car while carbon monoxide gas escaped via the opened hatch.
The man inside the tanker quickly succumbed to the presence of the gas and fell unconscious. At that point, the other man attempted to rescue his fallen partner. Sadly, the carbon monoxide overwhelmed both of the workers. The man who attempted the rescue died at the scene of the accident, while the initial victim perished about an hour later at Pekin Hospital.
The tanker car was said to have still contained a corn-based product. The liquid substance filled the interior of the tanker for several inches according to a firefighter who responded to the scene. It is unclear whether the substance created the gas, but it is certain to be examined. The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration is expected to review the accident in addition to the Pekin Police Department.
Everyone deserves the right to earn a living while working in a safe environment. The family members of workers killed in industrial plant accidents should know that they may be entitled to workers' compensation for the loss of their loved one's future earnings. Each situation involving a wrongful death is unique, but a death of a worker during the course of their employment may result in survivor's benefits.
Source: Peoria Journal Star, "Two workers killed Tuesday in industrial accident at Agridyne in Pekin" June 24, 2014.