Industrial Safety / Government Regulations / OSHA Compliance

Lawsuit links fatal Missouri munitions plant explosion to lax government oversight

By KCUR (Kansas City, MO)

Apr 30, 2019

Negligence and lax government oversight led to a fatal explosion at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, according to a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit filed this month by the family of the worker killed in the blast.

Lawrence Bass Jr., 55, was killed, and four other workers were injured, when an explosive material called tetrazene exploded on April 11, 2017.

Bass was using a spatula to remove a recently-dried batch of tetrazene from a metal container. The method he used, called “wedging” by Bass and other workers, has long been in place at the plant.

ATF investigators noted, however, that such a method was not outlined in Orbital ATK’s standard operating procedure (SOP). KCUR previously reported that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) fined Orbital ATK more than $100,000 for inadequate SOPs and other problems uncovered in the wake of the blast.

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