Workers Injured Following Explosion at Indianahead Biomass Services

Willful and serious safety violations were cited

According to a news release from OSHA, two employees were injured following an explosion at Indianhead Explorations LLC, permanently disabling one employee and causing the other to suffer a leg injury. OSHA has cited the employer with two willful and seven serious safety violations.

The workers were making modifications to the wood piping that supplied the gas and the gas heat exchangers by cutting into the gas supply pipe with a torch when the residual gas ignited inside the pipe and exploded due to the pressure.

Indianhead Biomass Services is a solid waste disposal facility and processing plant that employs approximately 40 workers.

“This incident could have been prevented if the employer established and implemented necessary safety measures to ensure that the pipe was properly vented to release the heat and pressure that builds up inside the pipe,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s director in Jacksonville, in the statement. “The employer’s lack of safety procedures endangered all workers at this facility and resulted in one employee being permanently disabled.”

OSHA cited the company for willful violations for exposing employees to amputation hazards from a lack of machine guarding and allowing two boom cranes to be in operation when they were not annually inspected and had deficiency notices for defective brakes and load cables.

The serious violations were cited for exposing employees to flying debris by not having machine guarding on several pieces of equipment. Also, the employer allowed workers to use a compressed oxygen cylinder with a damaged and inoperable regulator gauge; failed to clean, ventilate or test the pipe and tanks of the wood gas cooling supply system prior to use; and failed to provide a vent or opening for the release of built-up pressure and heat while using a cutting torch.

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