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Region 5 News Release:   V-121
February 21, 2002
Contact: Mark Hysell
Phone: (715) 832-9019

WORKER'S DEATH IN EXPLOSION LEADS TO OSHA FINES FOR IOWA AND WISCONSIN FIRMS

EAU CLAIRE, WIS. -- A company's failure to ensure the safe handling of binary explosives that resulted in the death of a worker at the J. P. Madgett Power Generation Station in Alma, Wis., has led to citations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The proposed penalties total $227,850.

OSHA issued citations to two companies that alleged willful, serious, and other-than-serious safety and health violations after the fatal explosion last August. Philip Services/North Central Inc., based in Camanche, Iowa, was issued proposed penalties of $133,350 and Dairyland Power Cooperative in Alma was issued proposed penalties of $94,500.

Philip Services/North Central Inc., under contract with Dairyland Power Cooperative, was responsible for cleaning the inside of the boiler through the use of explosives, grit, or hydro blasting. The fatal explosion occurred when a binary explosive charge was detonated while in the possession of a Philip Services/North Central Inc. employee.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if safety requirements had been followed," said Charles Burin, OSHA area director in Eau Claire, Wis. "A failure to take adequate precautions before detonating explosives was a significant factor in this fatal explosion."

OSHA issued a willful citation to Philip Services/North Central Inc. for failing to follow safety procedures for blasting operations. The alleged serious citations were related to safety requirements for the use of explosives, lack of a site-specific respiratory protection program, hazardous work in confined spaces, inadequate emergency rescue services, inadequate procedures for group lockout/tagout, and bloodborne pathogen requirements.

OSHA issued a willful citation to Dairyland Power Cooperative for failing to follow safety requirements for work in permit-required confined spaces. The alleged serious violations related to safety requirements for lockout/tagout, periodic inspections, rescue procedures, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communication training, and insufficient updates on a chemical hygiene plan.

The companies have 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or to request an informal conference with the area director.

# # #

(Note to the Editor: A summary of alleged OSHA violations is attached to this news release.)

SUMMARY OF OSHA CITATIONS

A willful citation issued by OSHA to Philip Services/North Central Inc. alleged:

  • that the person-in-charge of blasting operations did not use every reasonable precaution to ensure the safety of the workmen; and

  • that a loud warning was not given before each blast by the person-in-charge after ensuring the safety of all members of the crew.

Serious citations issued to Philip Services/North Central Inc. allege the company:

  • failed to secure explosives or blasting agents;

  • failed to follow process safety management requirements related to the manufacture of binary explosives;

  • failed to establish and implement a site-specific respiratory protection program;

  • failed to evaluate confined spaces for permit requirement;

  • failed to debrief the host employer after work in permit-required confined spaces;

  • failed to evaluate the hazards of confined spaces;

  • failed to provide protection for confined space entrants from external hazards;

  • failed to monitor the conditions inside a confined space during entry;

  • failed to provide necessary communication equipment;

  • failed to ensure the use of rescue equipment;

  • failed to provide an attendant;

  • failed to designate persons who were to have active roles in entry operations;

  • failed to develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services;

  • failed to evaluate a rescuer's ability to respond;

  • failed to ensure the protection of each individual during group lockout/tagout;

  • failed to inform the host employer of their lockout procedures; and

  • failed to comply with certain bloodborne pathogen requirements.

OSHA issued a willful citation to Dairyland Power Cooperative alleging:

  • that the hazards of permit required confined spaces were not identified, evaluated, and passed on to their subcontractors; and

  • practices and procedures were not developed and implemented for safe entry into confined spaces.

Serious citations issued to Dairyland Power Cooperative allege the company:

  • failed to follow requirements for lockout/tagout such as ensuring the protection of each authorized employee during group lockout procedures and conducting periodic inspections;

  • failed to debrief contractors after permit required confined space entry;

  • failed to develop and implement rescue procedures;

  • failed to evaluate rescue services;

  • failed to properly complete entry permits;

  • failed to follow certain requirements relating to bloodborne pathogens;

  • failed to provide hazard communication training; and

  • failed to update and review their chemical hygiene plan.


PWBA news releases are accessible on its website at www.dol.gov/dol/pwba. The information in this release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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