Cal/OSHA has issued 28 citations with fines totaling $540,890 to three companies in connection with an explosion that injured three people, two critically. A previous explosion involving the companies killed the son of the owner.
On Aug. 9, 2011, the explosion in Sylmar, CA, ripped the roof off and leveled most of a building. Two people lost limbs in the blast: One of them was the brother of the man killed in a previous explosion.
The three companies, Rainbow of Hope, Realm Catalyst and Strategic Sciences develop alternative fuels.
Cal/OSHA says the Aug. 9 incident occurred when a pressure vessel containing compressed gas, including hydrogen and oxygen, exploded while the two workers were transferring the gas from one cylinder to another. Both men also suffered serious burns. A third worker was treated for minor injuries.
Of the 28 citations, 6 were willful and 18 were serious. Cal/OSHA says the companies failed to correct hazardous conditions that had been identified in two previous explosions. The companies failed to ensure ignition sources were eliminated from the work area. There was no written plan for the use of flammable gases. Workers continued to go unprotected, according to the agency.
Cal/OSHA is also conducting a criminal investigation in the case. The results of that investigation will be turned over to prosecutors.