Welder Killed in Fatal Fire in SD

welderHUDSON, SD – OSHA is investigating a fatal fire at a South Dakota ethanol plant that killed one worker and another injured in the May 6 fire at a POET Biorefining plant south of Hudson.

The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the worker who died was welding inside a tank at the time. The welder was flown to a Minnesota burn hospital, where he died. The other worker was treated at a hospital and released.

Both contractors were employed by Bismarck, N.D.-based Bilfinger Westcon Industries, an industrial construction company. Neither employee’s name has been released.

The South Dakota OSHA office is also investigating the death of a worker who fell from a roof in Watertown in April. Justin Althoff, 24, died after falling 35 feet from the roof of the Watertown Recreation Center.

In late April, OSHA issued fines against two companies for the death of a Brandon man killed when a storage tank he was welding on exploded. South Dakota Soybean Processors of Volga was fined a total of $25,510 and CCM Welding Repair and Fabrication of Minneota, Minn. was fined $11,200. Neither company measured the flammability of the soap stock inside the tank, vapors from which caught fire and caused the explosion.

In 2015, Sioux Falls company Josten Concrete Products was fined $10,720 after a worker was crushed to death by a 3,200-pound culvert in July 2014. OSHA said the company did not take steps to protect employees from objects that could fall and cause serious injury.