Fireworks manufacturer fined after worker dies

An explosion at a fireworks manufacturing plant has led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to cite Luna Tech of Owens Cross Roads, AL, and proposed penalties totaling $64,750.

John Hall, OSHA’s Birmingham area director, says the agency initiated an investigation in September 1999 after an explosion hospitalized three employees, one of whom later died. Fol-lowing the inspection, OSHA cited Luna Tech for 21 serious safety and health violations.

The majority of the alleged violations pertained to OSHA’s process safety management standard, which addresses exposures to highly hazardous chemicals. These included failure to properly train employees in operating processes and procedures, perform hazard analyses, develop written operating procedures, and establish and implement an emergency action plan.

Other violations alleged in the citation included a lack of approved wiring, unguarded belts and pulleys, and lack of a respiratory protection program.

"Improper handling of hazardous chemicals can have dire consequences," Hall says. "Following OSHA standards, providing adequate training, and having a workable emergency action plan in case of an accident, raises the safety quotient considerably."

OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.