Ammunition Manufacturer Under Fire After Two Fatalities

March 21, 2019
Explosion at AMTEC Less Lethal Systems Inc. facility in Perry, Fla. kills two workers.

Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, started as a typical day for employees at AMTEC Less Lethal Systems Inc., but that quickly changed.

A morning explosion at the company's Perry, Fla., ammunition facility fatally injured two workers: 42-year-old Christina Patterson and 56-year-old Thomas Fowler, Jr.

"It's a good team, great employees and it's a sad day for our team. Our prayers are with our employees and their families and we'll go from there," AMTEC President Barry Hafer told the Tallahassee Democrat after the explosion.

OSHA immediate investigated the incident, and the company now faces $188,290 in penalties for numerous serious safety violations as well as a willful violation.

The agency cited AMTEC Less Lethal Systems Inc., which is now owned by PACEM Solutions International LLC, for:

  • failing to develop and implement management of change procedures when they increased the maximum explosive limits of pyrotechnic flash powder in or near the blast booths from 200 grams to 500 grams; 
  • failing to maintain the engineer’s specifications for the blowout panels installed on the blast booths;
  • using blast booths that did not comply with good engineering practices;
  • and failing to train employees on the operating procedures for work in the diversion section production room.

PACEM Solutions International LLC acquired AMTEC Less Lethal Systems Inc. in October 2018, a month after the incident.

“When employers disregard safety standards, they place their employees at risk,” said OSHA Jacksonville Area Director Michelle Gonzalez. “This tragedy could have been prevented if AMTEC had complied with OSHA standards.”

AMTEC has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.

About the Author

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic was formerly managing editor of EHS Today, and is currently editorial director of Waste360.

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