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Bluffton Police ID person who died at Valero ethanol plant

Bluffton Police say a 42-year-old Ohio man died at the Valero Ethanol Plant died Wednesday morning.

Posted: Jun 19, 2019 10:09 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2019 8:51 AM

BLUFFTON, Ind. (WFFT) - Bluffton Police have identified a 42-year-old man who died while working at the Valero Ethanol Plant Wednesday.

Police and rescue responded to the plant at 1441 S. Adams Street around 10:00 a.m. after receiving several 911 calls from employees reporting a person had died. 

Chief Kyle Randall says 42-year-old Ryan West, a contractor from Bainbridge, OH, was performing maintenance on a large arger when he became trapped. West, who was employed by Diversified Industrial Service, died at the scene. 

Randall said the investigation showed no foul play was involved. 

This accident happened just two weeks before new state laws take effect holding companies more accountable for worker deaths.

One law increases penalties to companies who don't fix safety concerns brought up during OSHA inspections and someone dies.

Companies could be fined between $9,472 and $132,598 for each violation.

Another law increases the workers compensation for someone who died to $10,000.

From January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2018, there were only three known violations that resulted in death in Indiana.

Valero statement on the incident:

"We are saddened by the loss of an employee with Diversified Industrial Services who was working at Valero’s Bluffton, Indiana plant this morning. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, co-workers and friends. The health and safety of all workers in our facilities is our priority. As for details about the incident, a complete investigation will be conducted. Also, we are cooperating with local and state agencies on investigations they have underway already," said Lillian Riojas, Valero spokeswoman.

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