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Ammunition recycling company cited for facility explosion and fire

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 18:15:55-05

HAMILTON, Ohio — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Tuesday that the agency has cited Midwest Ammunition LLC for safety and health violations tied to a facility explosion and subsequent fire that killed one employee and seriously injured another.

OSHA said the company is being cited for 19 serious safety and health violations, with proposed penalties of up to $211,768.

Inspectors determined that the ammunition recycling company failed to remove bins of waste ammunition powder from the sorting department before allowing employees to perform maintenance work.

"The company also failed to take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors, separate small arms ammunition from flammable materials by at least 25 feet, or install a fire-resistant wall; allowed the use of a gas-powered forklift in an atmosphere with flammable materials; and failed to develop, implement and train employees on emergency action and fire prevention plans," reads a press release from OSHA officials.

Other violations included exposing employees to lead, failing to have a respiratory protection program, failing to adequately guard operating machine parts and failing to ensure employees were given and wore eye protection. The press release also said several electrical safety violations were found.

“This tragic outcome could have been avoided by following safety guidelines and ensuring flammable and explosive materials were not exposed to potential ignition sources,” stated OSHA Cincinnati Area director Ken Montgomery in the press release. “OSHA regulations and industry standards require companies to develop and implement safety and health programs that address specific hazards and processes used in their facilities.”

According to the release, Midwest Ammunition LLC has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings.

WCPO is working to confirm whether Midwest Ammunition LLC is still in operation following the explosion and fire.