RIVERTON (WNE) — Work force safety officials say their investigation into last week’s fatal railcar explosion in Shoshoni could continue for several months.
Until then, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will offer no comment on the incident, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services communications manager Ty Stockton said Wednesday.
Stockton also noted that OSHA may not have jurisdiction over the incident, which occurred at a railcar repair yard and could fall under the purview of the Federal Railroad Association instead.
The investigation is ongoing despite the jurisdictional questions, Stockton said, adding that OSHA does not approach the incident from a “criminal or otherwise standpoint,” but rather “in terms of workplace safety and whether the rules were followed.”
Wyoming even has an occupational epidemiologist who determines whether each workplace safety incident represents a “one-off sort of thing” or signals a need to “make some changes (to) protect workers,” Stockton said.
Other elements of the case – for example, the question of cause – often are investigated by partnering agencies like local fire departments and police departments, “depending on the incident,” he said.
Two local men died in last week’s explosion: Dallas Mitchell, 28, of Riverton, and Daniel Conway, 18, of Shoshoni, both employees of Wasatch Rail Repair.
Officials said the men were inside of a railcar tanker conducting routine maintenance when an explosion occurred at about 3:25 p.m. Wednesday, April 21.