Newport, WA Plant Fined $1.3M for Explosion that Injured 17
The explosion occurred when highly flammable resins were run through a 90-foot oven multiple times, according to a release from the Washington Department of L&I. Just eleven days before the inciting incident, the facility was evacuated due to flammable vapors that posed an explosion risk.
Because the explosion caused injury to seventeen workers, the facility was cited for seventeen willful OSHA violations, each of which carries a maximum civil penalty of $70,000. In addition, the facility was fined for “serious violations,” including:
- Not ensuring effective energy control procedures to protect workers cleaning/servicing the oven
- Confined space violations related to employees working in the oven
- Failure to prevent ignition of flammable vapors
- Failure to adequately protect workers from inhaling vapors and chemicals
The $1.3 million total penalty is the result of a six month investigation, which found the company used defective equipment and did not use proper procedures to protect workers. The employer has 15 days to appeal the OSHA citations.
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