The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations against pyrotechnics and special effects company Ultratec in Owens Cross Roads, Ala. Ultratec, which was cited last year for 13 serious and one other-than-serious safety violations after a February 2015 explosion killed two workers, now faces four repeated, six serious and five other-than-serious violations, which equal $72,688 in proposed penalties. OSHA, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, said it began an investigation after it learned of two explosions at the Madison County plant on Oct. 1, 2015. The repeated citations relate to the employer because of its failure to:
• Document that safety equipment complies with generally accepted engineering practices for the manufacture and storage of fireworks.
• Update the process hazard analysis at least every five years.
• Develop and implement written operating procedures for all pyrotechnic products; and
• Implement procedures to manage changes to the production process.
The serious citations relate to the employer’s failure to:
• Compile process safety information for the building relief system.
• Develop, document and utilize specific procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.
• Update process safety information to address equipment changes.
• Conduct a pre-start safety review after significant modifications were made to production buildings.
Ramona Morris, OSHA’s area director in Birmingham, had this to say in a statement:
Ultratec continues to endanger its employees, as it has not addressed previously identified safety hazards and deficiencies with its process safety management system. Fortunately, no one was injured in these incidents, but management must take immediate action to address safety hazards before an employee is seriously injured or killed.
OSHA said Ultratec, which has a presence in Germany and Canada, employs more than 40 workers in Alabama. Ultratec has 15 business days to comply, request an OSHA conference or contest the findings before an independent review commission.
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