Global Processing

OSHA Sets $16 Million Fine in Connecticut Power Plant Blast

August 9, 2010
The Associated Press reports, OSHA has imposed $16.6 million in fines against companies involved in a power plant blast that killed six workers and injured 50 others. The fines stem from 371 alleged safety and workplace violations at the Kleen Energy Systems natural gas power plant in Middletown, Conn. The two main construction companies, which each face multimillion-dollar fines, both said they will contest the findings and that safety is their top priority. The under-construction facility exploded in February when something ignited natural gas and air that had accumulated in tight quarters during a "gas blow," a procedure in which high-pressure gas is forced through pipes to clean them. The ignition source hasn''t been identified, but welders were working nearby and gas and diesel heaters were left running during the gas blow on that chilly day — defying safety rules and common sense, OSHA officials said. The largest proposed fine levied in the case is $8.3 million against O&G Industries of Torrington, the general contractor. Keystone Construction & Maintenance of Rowley, Mass., which oversaw the gas blow, was fined almost $6.7 million. The companies have 15 days to pay or contest the fines.