OSHA cites Butler County ammo business for explosion, fire that killed worker

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it has cited a Butler County-based ammunition recycler for 19 serious safety and health violations.

OSHA is proposing penalties of $211,768.

The citations stem from a July 22, 2019, incident at Midwest Ammunition LLC, 4224 Hamilton-Trenton Road in St. Clair Twp., during which one employee, 21-year-old Logan Keebler, a Talawanda High School graduate, was killed and another worker was seriously injured.

A total of five people were treated for injuries.

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OSHA determined that the brass ammunition recycle company failed to remove bins of waste ammunition powder from the sorting department before allowing employees to perform maintenance work.

The company also failed to take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors, separate small arms ammunition from flammable materials by at least 25 feet, or install a fire-resistant wall, according to the citations. It also allowed the use of a gas-powered forklift in an atmosphere with flammable materials and failed to develop, implement and train employees on emergency action and fire prevention plans, officials said.

Other violations included exposing employees to lead; failing to implement a respiratory protection program, adequately guard operating machine parts, and ensure employees were provided and wore eye protection; and several electrical safety violations.

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“This tragic outcome could have been avoided by following safety guidelines and ensuring flammable and explosive materials were not exposed to potential ignition sources,” said OSHA Cincinnati Area Director Ken Montgomery. “OSHA regulations and industry standards require companies to develop and implement safety and health programs that address specific hazards and processes used in their facilities.”

Midwest Ammunition has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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