OSHA Cites Saia Motor Freight Line after Explosion

The company was found operating forklifts with defective safety switches, according to the agency

Four employees were hospitalized with two being critically injured after an explosion at a St. Louis trucking terminal on Aug. 6, 2014. The explosion was caused by a forklift's ignition source and a loose coupling connection to a liquid propane gas tank, according to OSHA, which announced that its investigators found one willful and 11 serious safety and health violations at Saia Motor Freight Line LLC.

An investigation found that two forklift operators were changing a propane tank on a liquefied petroleum gas-powered forklift inside a freight trailer when a loose coupling connection permitted liquid propane to leak, vaporize, and ignite, causing a flash fire. Two workers received critical burns and a third worker suffered burns to his legs as he helped extinguish his colleagues' burning clothing.

"Workers must be trained to avoid deadly combinations of flammable fuels, ignition sources, and confined spaces, which allow vapors to ignite quickly," said Bill McDonald, OSHA's area director in St. Louis. "This incident should remind all employers that using forklifts is one of the hazards workers may face daily."

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