Blast Kills One at Fireworks Storage in Pittsburg, Kansas

OSHA has cited Lone Star Management following the accident.

According to a report from OSHA, two Lone Star Management LLC employees were directed to use a gas-powered forklift to move pallets of fireworks and cardboard out of an explosive storage facility in Pittsburg, Kansas, when the gas ignited and caused an explosion. Within seconds, the inferno took the life of one worker and left another with burns over 80 percent of his body and the possibility of never working again.

OSHA found nine serious safety violations at the warehouse following an investigation and cited the company, which specializes in importing and distributing Class 1 fireworks.

"Poor housekeeping, combined with using a forklift not approved for flammable environments, proved to be a deadly combination," said Judy Freeman, OSHA's area director in Wichita. "Fireworks are meant to be fun but by their nature are highly explosive. This employer knew the hazards and how to protect staff. The families of these workers should not suffer because a company did not show a commitment to worker safety."

OSHA's investigation found that the company failed to paint explosive storage containers red with appropriate warnings and stored unauthorized materials, including cardboard, in the explosives' containers.

Lone Star Management also failed to develop, implement, and maintain a written Hazard Communication program to train workers about hazardous workplace materials and provide necessary safe handling precautions. Additionally, fire extinguishers were not mounted and accessible and employees were not trained to use them. The company also failed to have a competent person on site to enforce safety standards for magazine storage.

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