Worker dies at Rahr malting facility in Shakopee

Rahr makes malt that's used in many Minnesota-brewed beers.

A worker at the largest single-site malting facility in the world died Monday night.

A 58-year-old South St. Paul man had apparently fallen into a grain bin at the Rahr Malting Company in Shakopee, and when police arrived around 9:15 p.m. the man was dead in the bin, a news release says.

Police said the incident appears to be an accident, noting no one saw it happen and officials don't know how long the man had been in the bin before he was found by coworkers.

The man's identity and his cause of death will be released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office. OSHA is investigating the incident.

Rahr is a family-owned company that recently opened a new $68 million malt house, making it what's believed to be the largest single-site malting facility in the world. The company makes and ships malt – a key ingredient in beer – to thousands of breweries nationwide, including about 90 percent of Minnesota's breweries, the company said.

For information on the malting process, and the machines that are used in it, click here.

Grain bin dangers

Working with grain can be a dangerous job, according to OSHA's website. The leading cause of death in grain storage bins is suffocation – it can happen when a worker gets buried by grain while they're walking on moving grain or attempting to clear grain that's built up on the inside of a bin.

Grain that's moving acts a lot like quicksand, and a worker can be buried within seconds.

In 2010, 51 workers were engulfed by grain in storage bins – 26 of them died, marking the highest number on record, OSHA said.

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