Flash Fire at ABC Coke Plant Burns 3 Workers in Tarrant, Alabama
Three workers are recovering from burns today, following a flash fire at an industrial plant in Tarrant, Alabama, early Thursday morning.
ABC Coke Workers Sustained Burns to Chest, Head, and Neck
The fire at ABC Coke, located at 900 Huntsville Avenue in Tarrant, erupted shortly after 8:00 a.m. on September 24th. First responders arriving at the scene discovered three men with burn injuries to their chest, head, and neck areas.
Paramedics transferred all three victims to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. So far, authorities have not identified the men or commented on their current condition. However, it’s been reported that their injuries are non-life-threatening.
While it’s not clear what caused yesterday’s fire at ABC Coke, flash fires generally occur when a mixture of air and a dispersed volatile substance, such as a flammable liquid or gas, ignites.
ABC Coke’s History of Workplace Safety Violations
ABC Coke, owned by the Drummond Company, is the largest merchant producer of foundry coke in the nation.
In September 2011, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) fined ABC Coke $124,000 for 27 workplace safety violations following the death of a worker the previous March. According to media reports, the deceased worker was crushed as he attempted to fix a jammed coal bin chute.
ABC Coke received one serious safety violation directly related to his death: failing to develop and utilize lockout/tagout procedures for the energy source of a coal transport vehicle involved in the accident.
“This fatality could have been prevented had the employer ensured that proper procedures were developed and implemented,” said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA’s area director in Birmingham at the time.
Twenty-two additional serious violations included not wearing seatbelts while operating a forklift, unguarded open-sided floors and platforms, missing mid-rails and top-rails on platforms, open-sided stairs without handrails, storing unsecured propane and oxygen cylinders, unguarded fixed ladder cages, unapproved storage cabinets for flammable liquids, lack of an eyewash station, permitting unauthorized personnel to ride on powered industrial trucks, unguarded machine equipment, unmarked exit routes, and various electrical deficiencies.
A separate health inspection revealed two additional serious violations: allowing employees to have beards while wearing respirators and failing to label hazardous chemical containers. Finally, the company received one other-than-serious safety violation for failing to mark the approved load rating for a storage room in a building or other structure.
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