On September 14, 2018, an explosion at the AMTEC Less-Lethal Systems facility in Florida fatally injured two employees.
42-year-old Christina Patterson died in the incident and 56-year-old Thomas Fowler, Jr., who was flown from the scene to an area hospital, succumbed to his injuries about two weeks later.
The explosion triggered an OSHA investigation and on March 13, 2018, OSHA cited the ammunition manufacturer $188,290 for exposing employees to explosive hazards.
AMTEC, which operates as PACEM Solutions International, was fined for a number of violations, including failure to change procedures when pyrotechnic flash powder limits were increased by 150 percent, failing to maintain engineer’s specifications for the blowout panels on the blast booths and failing to properly train employees.
The problems were found in an area manufacturing T460 Blast Strips, single-use tactical stun munitions also known as a flash bang. A single T460 is designed to produce 175 dB at 5 feet, emit 6-10 million candela and a significant pressure wave -- like when authorities need to breach a wooden door.
About a month after the incident, a former employee came forward and said that she had warned management that an explosion at the manufacturing plant was imminent.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Jackie Hendry reported to AMTEC President Barry Hafer that flash powder was being improperly handled and that too many pounds of flash powder were being stored inside the building. She was subsequently fired.
Approximately 50 people work at the plant, which makes equipment used by law enforcement, corrections and military professionals.
The company has 15 business days to comply or contest the findings.
In a statement, OSHA Area Director Michelle Gonzalez said, “This tragedy could have been prevented if AMTEC had complied with OSHA standards.”