Improperly Equipped Furnace Led to Deadly Explosion at Manufacturing Plant

OSHA issued eight serious citations to TIMET for the incident

OSHA has determined the death of a furnace worker in the TIMET titanium manufacturing plant in Morgantown, Virginia, was due to the furnace not being properly equipped. The worker was killed with a boiler lid flew off inside the plant and struck him. Three other employees were also injured in the March 27, 2015, incident.

An OSHA investigation determined the furnace was not equipped with the proper vacuum/pressure gauge to detect and prevent the buildup of hydrogen gas. OSHA issued eight serious citations, including two general duty clause citations.

“TIMET’s electron beam furnace system had a history of problems, including an incident that occurred about a month prior to the fatal March explosion that significantly damaged the equipment,” said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA’s Harrisburg Area Office. “The employer clearly knew the potential for serious harm existed, but chose to do nothing. This resulted in damage to the facility and, tragically, the death of Jacob Lopez.”

OSHA also cited TIMET for serious violations related to unguarded machinery, unmaintained exit routes and electrical hazards.

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