OSHA Fines Gun Powder Manufacturer $1.2 Million After Deadly Explosion

Oct. 26, 2010
Two workers killed; 54 citations issued.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 54 citations with proposed penalties reaching $1.2 million to Black Mag LLC, following a deadly explosion in May at the companys site in Colebrook, N.H. Two workers were killed. Both were on the job for less than a month.

The company received four egregious willful, 12 willful, 36 serious and two other-than-serious violations.

According to OSHA, two workers and a plant supervisor were manufacturing a gun power substitute when the May 14 explosion occurred. The government agency alleges the workers had been required to hand feed powder into operating equipment due to the employers failure to implement essential protective controls. OSHA also says the employer elected not to implement remote starting procedures, isolate operating stations, establish safe distancing and erect barriers or shielding all of which are needed to safely make explosive powder.

OSHA claims the employer failed to implement safety measures despite a prior incident in which a worker was injured and multiple warnings from business partners and a former employee.

OSHA issued Black Mag four egregious willful citations for failing to train four workers involved in the manufacturing of gun powder substitute. Willful citations are considered egregious when more than one worker is exposed to a single hazard.

Other willful violations were issued for alleged failure to locate operators at safe locations while equipment was operating; separate workstations by distance or barriers and ensure that each worker was properly trained; provide adequate personal protective equipment; safely store gun powder; and identify explosion hazards in the firms operating procedures.

Black Mag has 15 days from receipt of the citations and proposed fines to comply, contest the findings, or meet with OSHA.

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