Worker at Branson, Mo. charcoal plant injured after getting stuck in auger

Near Branson, MO. — Western Taney County Fire Protection District rescued a man caught in an auger. The 29-year-old man was stuck, up to his waist, for about three hours Thursday morning

He was working at Royal Oak Charcoal plant near Branson when the accident occurred.

A medical helicopter transported the man from the scene at about 8 a.m. Fire Chief Chris Berndt says the man was awake and talking. However, he is considered to be in life-threatening condition and the extent of his injuries are unknown at this time.

Chief Berndt says that the call about the accident came in just before 5 a.m. He says his crews train for this type of rescue, however these incidents are fairly rare in this area. They require a more technical-type rescue, which takes time to do safely and correctly.

"In a car accident, stuff is not as strong and you can do a lot of pushing and cutting. There, it is more heavy equipment. You have to completely disassemble it and every piece of it is heavy," Chief Berndt said.

A spokesperson with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, confirms that OSHA is investigating this incident to determine whether or not the plant was following all safety regulations. That investigation could take up to six months.

"We believe that any type of workplace incident such as this could be prevented if all OSHA regulations and standards were followed," Allen Scott said.

Scott says their officers were at the plant to interview management and other workers about what might have went wrong.

"[Things like] if there's an auger involved, whether the auger was turned off. There are so many factors," Scott said.

KY3 News reached out to plant management at Royal Oak, however they refused to comment.