An OSHA investigation following an explosion and fire that killed three workers has resulted in the agency citing AL Solutions Inc. of West Virginia for exposing workers to workplace safety and health hazards. The incident occurred at the company's New Cumberland facility on Dec. 9, 2010.

OSHA began an investigation in response to the incident that occurred Dec. 9, 2010. As a result, the company received citations for one willful, 16 serious and one other-than-serious violation.

"This tragedy could have been prevented," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "It is imperative that employers take steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment."

The company received a willful violation for using an unsafe water sprinkler system with flammable metals, which created an explosion hazard.

Its 16 serious violations were for failing to provide a properly designed gas detection system for hydrogen, provide over-pressure protection, safely store flammable metals, provide safe egress, provide appropriate personal protective equipment, ensure the safe use of forklifts and provide hazard communication training, among other hazards.

The other-than-serious violation is the company's failure to maintain required record keeping by not completing OSHA Form 301, the Injury and Illness Incident Report.

AL Solutions, which operates plants in New Cumberland and Washington, Mo., manufactures titanium and zirconium alloy compacts used in the aluminum manufacturing industry. Penalties total $154,000.

The violations place this company in OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program (SVEP). Initiated in June 2010, SVEP is intended to focus OSHA enforcement resources on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations in one or more of the following circumstances: a fatality or catastrophe; industry operations or processes that expose workers to severe occupational hazards; employee exposure to hazards related to the potential releases of highly hazardous chemicals; and all egregious enforcement actions.