Two weeks after grain auger disaster, vigil continues for two 17 year old workers

The two 17 year old workers who were entangled two weeks ago in a grain auger remain hospitalized in the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Family and friends of Bryce Gannon, 17 and Tyler Zander, 17 created a Facebook page, “Prayers for Bryce and Tyler,” that provides a glimpse of the long road of recovery ahead for them. Both suffered amputation injuries to their legs. The Facebook posts suggest that the two young men have undergone multiple surgeries to treat their wounds and identify potential sources of infections. A post on Monday, Aug 15 reported:

“Tyler’s surgery to clean his wound was very late today. However, everything went well. The doctors want to find the source of Tyler’s fever/infection site. They found some spots around his pelvis area that they are suspicious of, they will test them and watch them closely. Now Tyler rests and heals until his next wound cleaning Wednesday. Hopefully there will be no more infection sites. Bryce began running a temperature last night. Today it was discovered that he has an infection that the doctors will have to clean in surgery tomorrow. This was upsetting for Bryce and his family, but it is a bump in this long road of recovery.”

A post from yesterday said:

“Tyler’s father just called me following Tyler’s surgery today: I could ‘hear’ the smile in his voice. He said the surgeons liked what they saw today with regard to his healing process. The dying of tissue seems to be ceasing–praise God! His white cells are still elevated, but they are showing signals that Tyler’s body is healing—good news. Tyler has a LONG road ahead of him, but now the surgeons are focusing more on how to improve Tyler’s future quality of life. That young man is one tough cookie!”

The vigils by family member and friends of Bryce Gannon and Tyler Zander have continued straight for two weeks. The Facebook posts provide a glimpse into the emotional and physical toll a serious work-related injury can take on a family. They also point out other economic and practical consequences for family members caring for someone with the serious injury. From Sunday, August 14:

“Bryce’s Grandma is having vehicle trouble. Pretty big trouble—I think her engine blew when she was driving down to care for Bryce one day last week. She has been having ongoing difficulty with it—and I think this problem she is having is very serious. She is one of the primary caregivers for Bryce and she works in Enid and commutes to Enid each day. …the dealership says the engine is blown…”

Sounds like her car was done in by the 200 mile daily roundtrip drives to the hospital. One of the last things this grandmother needs right now.

Comments

  1. #1 unsafetv
    August 22, 2011

    It’s too little too late for these kids, but it looks like OSHA is starting to pay some extra attention to grain handling hazards:
    http://ehstoday.com/standards/osha/osha-highlights-grain-handling-safety-0819/

  2. #2 Celeste Monforton
    August 22, 2011

    OSHA can put all kinds of info on its website, and even send letters directly to employers, as it has done to thousands of grain elevator operators: http://www.osha.gov/asst-sec/Grain-Letter-2-1-2011.html

    I don’t know of any evidence, however, demonstrating that these outreach materials are effective in changing the “it won’t happen here” attitude. OSHA’s asst. secretary recently reported that at a grain handling facility where two young workers were killed (http://www.wrex.com/global/story.asp?s=12894160) just such an OSHA awareness letter was posted on their bulletin board.

  3. #3 unsafetv
    August 22, 2011

    I couldn’t agree more that an ‘awareness’ campaign is not a great big step forward. One can only hope it’s the start of something more, like better regulations.

    Until then, it will be hard to rid the industry of ‘it can’t happen here’ attitude, particularly cause it’s pervasive in most industries and seems to be part of the value system of the American worker. I’m not sure its possible to fix this while shows like Jackass are still on tv.

    That’s a fantastic research topic though… any takers?

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