Two men at American Crystal Sugar’s East Grand Forks plant were hospitalized after suffering burns involving nearly boiling water in an incident just after 6 p.m. Saturday, East Grand Forks police confirmed Monday. A 21-year-old man had significant burns over much of his body after falling into nearly 200-degree water. A 32-year-old man was burned on his hands and feet.
Both were taken to Altru Hospital in East Grand Forks, and one was later transferred to a burn unit at a Twin Cities hospital, according to police. Their conditions were not released.
Brian Ingulsrud, a company vice president, said the employees worked directly for Crystal, not an outside contractor. He declined to comment further on the accident.
In February, a contract worker at Crystal’s East Grand Forks plant also suffered serious burns in an accident. The man worked for Strom Engineering, a Minnetonka-based company that has been supplying replacement workers to Crystal Sugar since it locked out its 1,300 union workers Aug. 1, 2011.
Minnesota’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is still investigating that accident, and has not yet reviewed Saturday’s incident.
The bitter lockout has dragged on for 20 months at Crystal’s five plants, which include sites in Crookston and Moorhead, Minn., and Drayton and Hillsboro, N.D. Workers are scheduled to vote April 13 for the fifth time on essentially the same contract they’ve rejected four times before.