Iowa Meatpacking Plant Explosion Leads to Investigation

Iowa Meatpacking Plant Explosion Leads to Investigation

Police report says two workers who were injured in February have recovered.

Iowa OSHA is conducting an investigation regarding an explosion at the Agri Star Meat & Poultry plant in Potsville that injured two people.

The explosion happened at the dock of the meat processing plant after a forklift punctured a hose leading to a 100-pound liquid propane tank. The gas leak eventually ignited, according to police.

The blast hit two men nearby. One suffered from burns on his face, the other suffered from injuries. The plant then temporarily lost power, damaging the roof and walls.

Pottsville Police Chief Matt Lewis said he thinks both men have recovered from their injuries. Iowa OSHA is being charged and started its probe February 17, 2021 and is aiming to finish by mid-May.

According to The Gazette, Agri Star opened in 2009 at the site of the former Agriprocessors Inc. Canadian businessman, Hershey Friedman, bought and invested $7.5 million to renovate and modernize the plant before reopening it. At the time, Friedman said the plant hired 560 people to produce different meat products for retail food services and markets.

In November of 2020, ACLU Iowa and other worker rights groups filed a federal complaint against Iowa OSHA, accusing the agency of not investigating COVID-19 outbreaks.

“With the onset of COVID-19, numerous Iowa workplaces are not properly protecting their workers, and Iowa OSHA is not investigating complaints about those workers properly,” ACLU Iowa said in an article.

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