Grain: A Deadly Business | KCUR

Grain: A Deadly Business

Mar 27, 2013

The Bartlett grain elevator in Atchison, Kan., exploded, killing six on Oct. 29, 2011. (Courtesy Kansas City Star)

In 2011, an explosion at a grain elevator in Atchison, Kansas, killed six people—employees and inspectors there—and rocked a community. Federal prosecutors are now considering charges in the case, but with 2010 the worst year on record, why does this keep happening?

On today's Central Standard, we explore the world of safety and regulation in the grain industry. Investigative reports this week from NPR News' Howard Berkes, Harvest Public Media's Jeremy Bernfeld, and the Kansas City Star's Mike McGraw, have revealed that hundreds have died in explosions and drownings in grain elevators—even as business is thriving, including here in Kansas—which is second in the nation in grain deaths.

We'll discuss whether regulation is too lenient and prosecutors are too slow to act. And we'll also consider how more than 500 deaths in 40 years might not be repeated.