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Mississippi company cited after explosion that killed welder



A workplace explosion that killed a welder in Mississippi this summer could have been prevented if the employer adhered to proper workplace safety standards, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA on Tuesday cited Bentonia, Mississippi-based WS Red Hancock Inc. for intentionally failing to fill a brine waste tank with water and for failing to clean, vent and test the tank for flammables at the time of the July 2022 explosion in Flora, Mississippi, which killed one worker and sent six others to the hospital.

The explosion occurred during welding work on a job to replace old metal tanks with fiberglass tanks at an oil and gas field saltwater landfill.

OSHA, which proposed $1

96,886 in penalties, said the company failed to instruct workers on proper ways to work with equipment containing flammable substances, failed to provide medical attention to workers exposed to explosion hazards, failed to remove or protect fire hazards near welding operations , and other alleged violations.

The company has 15 days to contest the referrals.

In a separate case, OSHA on Monday cited a cattle processor in Missouri for exposing workers to potentially fatal levels of carbon dioxide.

OSHA cited Lone Jack, Missouri-based ZMDR LLC, doing business as Republic Foods, for two willful, four repeated and seven serious safety and health violations. It proposed $573,913 in fines.

OSHA alleges that the company has exposed employees to carbon dioxide levels that exceed allowable exposure levels.

The company received similar citations in November 2020.

OSHA said the company also exposed workers to fall hazards, violated workplace electrical safety standards and failed to provide required machine guards.

OSHA has cited the company for 35 violations since it opened in 2020.


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