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Serious OSHA Violations Found in Morgantown Workplace Explosion Death

In the aftermath of an investigation begun nearly seven months ago, OSHA has fined Timet Corp. of Morgantown, West Virginia $42,000 dollars in light of a September 25th inspection of a former workplace accident site at the company, which remained unfixed despite causing the death of Jacob Lopez, age 27 of Ephrata, during a boiler explosion on March 27th that also injured additional workers in the explosion.

According to statements made by OSHA, Timet Corp was keenly aware of the boiler room safety violations in question, these violations had previously caused the death of an employee, and in light of all this, remained unrepaired and still potentially lethal to workers until the late September OSHA follow up visit. Timet Corp, an international mining company providing nearly 20% of the annual global supply of titanium, stated that company officials are working to resolve outstanding violations with OSHA in the appropriate legal venues.

The particular Timet Corp factory in question, which is located on 900 Hemlock in Caernarvon Township, exhibited the following violations per OSHA:

  • Timet Corp has a relatively extensive history with OSHA violations from 2015 alone before the newest violations noted in September of 2015
  • Timet Corp has failed to adhere to the OSHA and Department of Labor mandated fifteen (15) grace period for companies and employers to repair or resolve all outstanding OSHA violations, or begin a formal dispute process over the violations in question
  • Investigators previously determined that the electron beam furnace apparatus lacked the legally-required hydrogen gas pressure buildup and vacuum safety system, which was known to Timet Corp employers at the time of the boiler explosion resulting in both worker injuries and death
  • OSHA investigators now alleged that Timet Corp continued to fail to resolve this problem at the plant in Caernarvon even following the fatal accident in late March of 2015

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the premier federal administration tasked with protecting the rights of workers to safe and suitable working conditions since its inception under the Nixon Administration in 1972. OSHA is tasked with a number of responsibilities under the auspices of the US Department of Labor, including offering protections to employees for filing claims, warnings, and other revelations of wrongdoing by companies concerning the well-being of employees, as well as for defining national-level industry safety regulatory standards that have protected American workers’ rights for over forty years.

The repeated pattern of violations, which trace back to 2006 for certain instances noted by the media, left Timet Corp subject to increasing scrutiny following worker injuries and deaths this year, which have resulted in a number of tangentially related claims against the company. Finally, given the serious nature of the violations per OSHA’s categorization of types of violations including the knowing use of equipment by Timet Corp that posed a large probability of death or physical injury to workers, Timet Corp is likely expected to face civil litigation claims for wrongful death and workplace injuries from the March 27th fatal boiler accident as well.

References:

https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/osha-seeks-fine-for-morgantown-plant-accident-that-killed-ephrata/article_3e9b96fe-6b6b-11e5-a49b-03ceb17dddca.html

https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/boiler-explosion-that-killed-ephrata-man-was-accidental-police-say/article_f37580fe-d53d-11e4-8797-a3a4b9aaaa7e.html

https://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-berks/Local/deadly-explosion-at-timet-plant-in-caernarvon-appears-accidental-police-say/32091312

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