Company Agrees To Pay Fine Following Fatal Explosion

The Electronic Recovery Specialist Inc. has agreed to pay\r\n$99,000 in penalties issued by OSHA and make significant safety and\r\nhealth improvements at its facility in Niles, Ill.

After an explosion claimed the life of one worker and injured five others, The Electronic Recovery Specialist Inc. has agreed to pay $99,000 in penalties issued by OSHA and make significant safety and health improvements at its facility in Niles, Ill.

Under the terms of the settlement, the plant has permanently ceased all processes involving projectile decoring, the disassembly of explosive projectiles.

The explosion occurred on Jan. 12, 2000, when workers were engaged in a decoring operation.

Diane M. Turek, area director of OSHA''s Chicago North Area Office, said, "We are pleased that the company has agreed to resolve this matter as quickly as possible and ensure maximum protection for its employees."

The investigation found numerous violations of OSHA''s Process Safety Management Standard.

The company failed to keep hazardous materials from open flames and spark-producing equipment, failed to establish written procedures, failed to train employees in safe operating procedures, failed to collect and store an explosive powder mixture, and failed to prevent ignition of the powder.

The company also failed to develop written process safety information and perform a hazard evaluation of the disassembly of the projectiles.

Other violations involved explosives which were stored outside of magazines.

The Electronic Recovery Specialist Inc. has already begun safety improvements, including contracting with a consultation service to strengthen their safety and health program beyond OSHA requirements.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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