Safety and OSHA News

OSHA says explosion could’ve been prevented

Two companies face more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars in fines in connection with an explosion that resulted from the combination of flammable vapors and welding.

OSHA has issued $257,500 in fines to Worthen Industries, a manufacturer of adhesives in Nashua, NH, and S.L. Chasse Welding and Fabrication, a contractor in Hudson, NH.

The bulk of the fines, $225,400, went to Worthen, including a single willful citation of $63,000.

The explosion occurred when flammable vapors ignited while Chasse workers were installing a new motor on a vessel used in the plant’s manufacturing process.

OSHA says Worthen hadn’t cleaned or vented the vessel thoroughly enough to make sure there were no flammable vapors inside before welding took place.

The explosion injured four workers. Two received serious burns and had to be flown to a regional burn center for treatment. Company officials say all four workers will or have recovered.

Worthen says it will contest the fines. Chasse says it will meet with OSHA officials and hasn’t decided how to respond.

Chasse was issued fines totaling $32,100 for inadequately training its employees to recognize possible chemical, fire, explosion or toxic release hazards and for allowing welding to be performed in a flammable atmosphere.

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