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OSHA slaps Kleen Energy Plant with a $16.6 million fine

The U.S OSHA has slapped a fine of $16.6 million on the construction companies connected with the explosion in February this year at Kleen Energy Systems, which killed 6 workers.

O&G Industries, the project's general contractor was fined $8.3m, whereas, the commissioning and start up contractor for the plant, Blue-water Energy Services was fined $896,000 and 14 sub contractors were fined a total of $686,000.

The assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, Mr. David Michaels said that,"These employers blatantly disregarded well-known and accepted industry procedures and their own safety guidelines in conducting the gas blow operation in a manner that exposed workers to fire and explosion hazards." he also further stated that, "We see this time and time again across industries when companies deliberately ignore safety precautions in the interest of completing jobs quickly, and workers end up being killed or seriously hurt."

It is important to note that the Kleen Energy plant was still under construction when it exploded during a gas purging operation, hence, OSHA inspectors cataloged 225 willful violations and nearly 371 safety violations at the construction site. Among the violations are: failing to remove non-essential workers, failing to vent gas so it would disperse, failing to train workers and allowing welders to keep working during the procedure.

Unfortunately, this blast could have been avoided if the plant had followed the guidelines set up by OSHA.