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Ammo Recycler Fined Following Employee Fatality

Midwest Ammunition failed to remove bins of waste ammunition powder before employees performed maintenance work.

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HAMILTON, OH – OSHA has cited Midwest Ammunition, and proposed penalties of $211,768, for 19 serious safety and health violations after one employee suffered a fatal injury, and another suffered serious injuries in a fire and explosion on July 22, 2019.

OSHA inspectors determined that the Hamilton, Ohio-based company, which recycles brass ammunition, failed to remove bins of waste ammunition powder from the sorting department before allowing employees to perform maintenance work.

The company also failed to take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors, separate small arms ammunition from flammable materials by at least 25 feet, or install a fire-resistant wall; allowed the use of a gas-powered forklift in an atmosphere with flammable materials; and failed to develop, implement and train employees on emergency action and fire prevention plans. 

Other violations included exposing employees to lead; failing to implement a respiratory protection program, adequately guard operating machine parts, and ensure employees were provided and wore eye protection; and several electrical safety violations.

“This tragic outcome could have been avoided by following safety guidelines and ensuring flammable and explosive materials were not exposed to potential ignition sources,” said OSHA Cincinnati Area Director Ken Montgomery, in a press release. “OSHA regulations and industry standards require companies to develop and implement safety and health programs that address specific hazards and processes used in their facilities.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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