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OSHA News Release - Table of Contents

DOL Logo OSHA Regional News Brief – Region 4

U.S. Department of Labor

March 21, 2016

OSHA cites Alabama special effects pyrotechnics company
after two explosions, 15 violations bring nearly $73K in penalties
Ultratec Special Effects had three explosions in 2015 amid OSHA warnings

Employer name: Ultratec Special Effects Inc.

Inspection site: 148 Moon Drive, Owens Cross Roads, Alabama 35763

Citations issued: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the employer on March 18 for four repeated, six serious and five other-than-serious safety violations.

Inspection findings: The agency initiated an investigation after learning of two explosions at the pyrotechnic facility on Oct.1, 2015.

The repeated citations relate to the employer not:

  • Documenting that safety equipment complies with generally accepted engineering practices for the manufacture and storage of fireworks.
  • Updating the process hazard analysis at least every five years.
  • Developing and implementing written operating procedures for all pyrotechnic products
  • Implementing procedures to manage changes to the production process.

OSHA cited the company for the same violations in 2015 at this location.

The serious citations relate to the employer's failure to:

  • Compile process safety information for the building relief system.
  • Develop, document and utilize specific procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.
  • Update process safety information to address equipment changes.
  • Conduct a pre-start safety review after significant modifications were made to production buildings.

Other violations include the employer not preparing an incident report at the conclusion of an investigation; ensuring containers of hazardous chemicals were properly labeled and failing to provide safety data sheets for all chemicals used in the process.

Quote: "Ultratec continues to endanger its employees, as it has not addressed previously identified safety hazards and deficiencies with its process safety management system," said Ramona Morris, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "Fortunately, no one was injured in these incidents, but management must take immediate action to address safety hazards before an employee is seriously injured or killed."

Proposed penalties: $72,688

The citations can be viewed at: http://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/OSHA20160459.pdf

Ultratec Special Effects Inc. manufactures and distributes pyrotechnics and special effects equipment used in the entertainment industry. With offices in Germany and Canada, the company employs more than 40 workers in Alabama. Ultratec has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Birmingham Area Office at 205-731-1534.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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Media Contacts:

Lindsay Williams, 678-237-0630, williams.lindsay.l@dol.gov
Michael D’Aquino, 678-237-0630, d’aquino.michael@dol.gov

Release Number: 16-459-ATL (70)

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).

OSHA News Release - Table of Contents

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