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Region 2 News Release:   NY 158
June 5, 2000
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
PHONE: 212-337-2319

OSHA CITES MECHANICVILLE, NEW YORK FIREWORKS MANUFACTURER FOR ALLEGED SERIOUS SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING FATAL EXPLOSION IN SCHAGHTICOKE; ONE WORKER KILLED, ONE SERIOUSLY INJURED

$91,500 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED

The U. S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Alonzo Fireworks, of 12 County Road 75, Mechanicville, New York, and proposed penalties of $91,500 against the firm, alleging thirty serious and three other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards.

According to OSHA area director John Tomich, OSHA conducted three separate inspections involving the company. The first inspection took place from December 13, 1999, through May 16, 2000, following a fatal explosion at the Schaghticoke Fairgrounds on December 10, 1999. One employee, Richard Van Wert of Schaghticoke, was killed and another was treated for burns sustained in the explosion.

Following the inspection at the Fairgounds, OSHA cited the company for the following six alleged serious violations of the explosives and blasting agent standard, and the hazardous waste operations and emergency response standard:

  • failure to properly handle and dispose of firework components.
  • failure to use proper vehicles to transport materials for disposal.
  • failure to establish a site safety and health plan.
  • failure to properly train employees in disposal methods.
  • failure to develop an emergency response plan.
  • failure to properly train employees in disposal methods.

The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $21,000.

"Improper handling and disposal of fireworks can, and in this case did, have dire and tragic consequences", Tomich said, "because the employer was not following the applicable OSHA standards."

OSHA also conducted two concurrent inspections of the company's's fireworks manufacturing facility, a safety inspection and a health inspection, from December 16, 1999 through May 16, 2000, and cited the employer for alleged violations of standards relating to electrical and lockout/tagout hazards, hazard communication, exposure to methylene chloride, and other safety and health standards. Included in the alleged serious violations for which OSHA cited the employer are:

  • failure to properly train employees about hazards of covered process.
  • failure to establish and implement an emergency action plan.
  • failure to properly store explosive materials at the facility.
  • failure to properly install electrical equipment and wiring.
  • failure to develop procedures to reduce explosion hazards from static sparks.
  • failure to keep fireworks processing and storage buildings the required distance from one another.
  • failure to properly guard belts, pulleys, and other machinery.
  • failure to properly monitor employee exposure to methylene chloride.
  • failure to establish an employee respiratory protection program.

The alleged serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $70,500.

In addition, OSHA cited the employer for the following three alleged other-than-serious violations:

  • failure to maintain the required OSHA log of injuries and illnesses.
  • failure to provide written information to employees voluntarily using respirators.
  • failure to establish an employee respiratory protection program.

The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Albany area office, located at 401 New Karner Road, Suite 300, Albany, N. Y. Telephone: (518) 464-6742.

The company has until June 26 to contest the citations.

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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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