Exclusive: Fargo man speaks after losing leg in manufacturing incident; OSHA investigating

Aaron Maves says he's lucky to be alive
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:49 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A federal agency is investigating a Fargo agricultural company after an employee lost his leg.

Records we obtained from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show that Red River Commodities has paid thousands of dollars in fines in the past two years for other incidents, including one where an employee died.

Aaron Maves, 31, spoke to Valley News Live in an exclusive interview from Sanford Hospital where he’s recovering.

“I’m really lucky...grain bin auger accidents have a really low survival rate,” Maves said.

He began rehabilitation and therapy on Friday a day after losing his right leg.

“It happened so quick, in a flick of a switch, that literally lives can be taken away,” Maves said reflecting on the incident from his hospital bed.

Maves was sweeping around the auger of a grain bin, which gets cleaned once a year, when his leg got caught on Thursday. He said the quick thinking from a colleague saved his life.

“He took off running so fast up to our control room, bashed out the window in the control room. Shattered it to get someone’s attention to help me.” Maves said.

For nearly 40 minutes, Maves was in excruciating pain as emergency responders worked to free him.

OSHA cited Red River Commodities, located along 42nd St N in Fargo, for at least eight violations committed in 2018.

According to OSHA records, the company paid $25,700 in fines for two separate incidents.

In January of 2018, OSHA stated an employee was killed after being struck by a forklift as they were sweeping.

Jess Engel, the human resource director for the company, said employee safety is the top priority for Red River Commodities and it has launched a formal safety review into what happened.

Engel also said Red River is 100 percent compliant with OSHA.

Aaron Maves is trying to move forward with a positive outlook.

“In about six weeks, I can put weight on it. And then I can start getting fitted for a prosthetic and in about six months I can start using it,” Maves said.

He added that farmers need to be more aware of their surroundings.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help his family made up of five children in the short-term. Click here to give.

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