WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 54 workplace safety and health citations with penalties totaling $1.2 million to gun powder substitute manufacturer Black Mag LLC.

OSHA's action followed an investigation into the causes of a deadly explosion in May at the company's worksite in Colebrook, NH. The explosion took the lives of two workers who had been on the job for a month.

"The fines levied here pale in comparison to the value of the two lives lost," said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "Nonetheless, this was a tragedy that easily could have been prevented had the employer valued the health and safety of its employees. Employers should not sacrifice their workers' lives for a profit, and no one should be injured or killed for a paycheck."

On May 14, two workers and a plant supervisor were manufacturing a gun powder substitute known as Black Mag powder when the explosion occurred. The workers had been required to hand feed powder into operating equipment due to the employer's failure to implement essential protective controls. OSHA said Black Mag "also chose not to implement remote starting procedures, isolate operating stations, establish safe distancing and erect barriers or shielding - all of which are necessary for the safe manufacture of explosive powder."
OSHA is continuing its move toward implementing a comprehensive combustible dust standard, which will include wood dust.

Read the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's press release. 

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