Ohio company fined $117,500 after fire, explosion

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pandora Manufacturing LLC of Pandora, Ohio, and proposed penalties totaling $117,500 for 23 alleged serious violations, one repeat violation and one willful violation of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA opened an inspection at the facility in June 2006 after receiving information about a fire that resulted in worker injuries. The investigation into the fire and explosion revealed that employees were repairing a bottle capping machine that malfunctioned, causing damaged bottles with flammable liquids to spill on and around the equipment. A spark created a fire and explosion that resulted in injuries to four workers, two of whom were hospitalized with serious burns and respiratory distress. All employees have since recovered.

The willful citation with a proposed penalty of $56,000 was issued against Pandora for failing to install explosion proof electrical fixtures and equipment on a filling and capping line where flammable liquid was being bottled. Serious violations were issued for fire hazards, improper handling of flammable liquids, process safety management issues, lack of personal protective equipment and others. A repeat violation involved improperly placed electrical cords, thereby exposing workers to tripping hazards (the company had been cited for that same violation in an April 2004 inspection).

"Any one of these violations has the potential to cause serious harm or death to workers," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's Toledo area director. "Finding hazards and insisting they be corrected are among the best services we can perform for working men and women."

The company was previously inspected in April 2004 with a number of violations found, including eight categorized as serious. The company has 15 working days from receipt to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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