Fatal Explosion Results in $227,850 in Fines

A fatal accident at the J. P. Madgett Power Generation Station in Alma, Wis., was the result of a failure to safely handle binary explosives, OSHA finds.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that a fatal accident at the J. P. Madgett Power Generation Station in Alma, Wis., was the result of a company's failure to safely handle binary explosives.

The agency issued citations to two companies that alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious safety and health violations after the fatal explosion last August. Philip Services/North Central Inc., based in Camanche, Iowa, was issued proposed penalties of $133,350 and Dairyland Power Cooperative in Alma was issued proposed penalties of $94,500.

Philip Services/North Central Inc., under contract with Dairyland Power Cooperative, was responsible for cleaning the inside of the boiler through the use of explosives, grit or hydro blasting. The fatal explosion occurred when a binary explosive charge was detonated while in the possession of a Philip Services/North Central Inc. employee.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if safety requirements had been followed," said Charles Burin, OSHA area director in Eau Claire, Wis. "A failure to take adequate precautions before detonating explosives was a significant factor in this fatal explosion."

OSHA issued a willful citation to Philip Services/North Central Inc. for failing to follow safety procedures for blasting operations. The alleged serious citations were related to safety requirements for the use of explosives, lack of a site-specific respiratory protection program, hazardous work in confined spaces, inadequate emergency rescue services, inadequate procedures for group lockout/tagout, and bloodborne pathogen requirements.

OSHA issued a willful citation to Dairyland Power Cooperative for failing to follow safety requirements for work in permit-required confined spaces. The alleged serious violations related to safety requirements for lockout/tagout, periodic inspections, rescue procedures, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communication training and insufficient updates on a chemical hygiene plan.

The companies have 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or to request an informal conference with the area director.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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