Explosion at Houston steel manufacturer kills worker
Second employee death in a year
A 31-year-old worker was killed in August, 2014 at Madden Bolt Corp. when a cutting-table explosion hurled him and a steel plate into the air. The plate then landed on the fallen worker, OSHA investigators determined. As a result, the agency has cited the Houston-based employer for 10 serious violations.
It was the second fatality within twelve months at the company. In September 2013, a forklift driver at Madden Bolt died after the machine turned over and pinned him underneath.
The inspection that followed the explosion found serious violations which include failing to: ensure that the air and gas concentration in the cutting table did not accumulate to create an explosion; protect fuel cylinders from damage; place safety guards on band saws and a pipe press that exposed workers to being caught in the machinery; cover live electrical parts on equipment; and outline proper procedures to shut down equipment while performing maintenance. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"When an employee is killed by a preventable workplace hazard, this is no accident. It means the employer failed to protect workers from dangers that can cause injury, illness or, in this case, another needless death," said Josh Flesher, acting area director for OSHA's Houston North Area Office.
OSHA has proposed fines totaling $44,800. Madden Bolt specializes in manufacturing bolts, custom steel plate products and assemblies, and employs about 130 workers.