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Region 5 News Release: 13-1968-CHI
Oct. 28, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA finds 36 safety violations at
Indiana's Crane Army Ammunition Activity following March explosion

CRANE, Ind. – Crane Army Ammunition Activity has been issued 36 notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, following an explosion and fire on March 28 in the pyrotechnic building of the Crane facility. Five workers were hospitalized after the incident. They were then treated at the hospital and released.

"The Crane Army Ammunition Activity failed to ensure the facility was in compliance with established safety and health procedures," said Vanessa Martin, director of OSHA's Indianapolis Area Office. "All employers are responsible for recognizing hazards in their facilities and addressing them by following OSHA standards. Thankfully, the hospitalized workers survived this unacceptable lapse in workplace safety."

The explosion and fire occurred in two dust collectors in the pyrotechnic building, where workers were in the process of cleaning the production area. The explosion forced the access door open, causing the fire and pressure wave to strike the production building. The facility receives, stores, ships, renovates, demilitarizes and produces conventional ammunition, missiles and related components. Multiple violations of OSHA's Process Safety Management standards for facilities that use highly hazardous materials and chemicals were found at the facility.

A total of 34 serious safety violations were noted. A violation is noted as serious when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Twenty-five of these serious violations involve PSM, including failure to compile existing process safety information; involve workers' employees in the process; develop, maintain and update information regarding safe limits and consequences of deviation; include materials of construction for the system or design standards and codes; ensure that equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices; address emergency operating procedures; and conduct inspections and tests on process equipment.

Nine serious violations involve failing to develop specific energy control procedures; train workers on energy control procedures; conduct periodic inspections of the procedures; provide lockout/tagout devices; to guard belts and pulleys; and conduct a personal protective equipment assessment and protect workers from combustible dust hazards. Additionally, two violations of OSHA's permit-required confined space standards were found, including failure to evaluate the workplace for permit-required confined spaces, issue entry permits and implement safe entry procedures.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to evaluate respiratory hazards in the facility and not reviewing incident reports with affected workers. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

As required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, federal agencies must comply with the same safety standards as private sector employers. The federal agency equivalent to a private sector citation is the notice of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions. A notice is used to inform establishment officials of violations of OSHA standards and regulations. OSHA cannot propose monetary penalties against another federal agency for failure to comply with OSHA standards.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity employs 750 personnel and is located at Naval Support Activity in Crane. The facility has 15 business days from receipt of the notices to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or appeal the notices by submitting a summary of the agency's position on the unresolved issues to OSHA's regional administrator.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Indianapolis Area Office at 317-226-7299.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and Executive Order 12196, the head of each federal agency is responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for agency employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for all federal employees by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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