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Explosion at Olin Winchester Ammunition Plant in Oxford, Mississippi Injures 7 Workers


Seven workers in Oxford, Mississippi are recovering from burns and other injuries, following an explosion at the Olin Winchester ammunition and chemical plant yesterday afternoon.

Gun Powder May Have Triggered Olin Winchester Plant Explosion

The January 8th explosion occurred around 1:30 p.m. in a production area at the Olin Winchester Rimfire and military packing building along County Road 101.

According to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, the blast involved a bin used to store newly manufactured bullets. Gun powder was the likely ignition source.

Fortunately, the explosion was contained to the building and did not affect nearby residents or require a HAZMAT response.

Workers Suffered Burns, Abrasions, Bruises to Face and Extremities

Seven workers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, including three people taken by ambulance to Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi.

According to an emergency room doctor, they sustained abrasions, bruises, and burns, mostly to the face and extremities.  All three have since been released from the hospital.

Among other things, the treating physician speculated that the workers’ use of safety gear had prevented far more serious injuries.

Olin Winchester Plant Cited for 3 Serious OSHA Violations Last Year

Based in Missouri, Olin Winchester manufactures firearms, pistol ammunition, and military ammunition packaging.

The company opened its $100 million Oxford, Mississippi plant in 2011.

Unfortunately, yesterday’s explosion was not the first time a worker was injured at the facility. In fact, the most recent incident occurred in September 2017, when a machine amputated an  employee’s left pinky finger.

Since 2013, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the Olin Winchester plant for six workplace safety violations, including three it deemed serious.

Apparently, the serious violations were uncovered during a single OSHA inspection in July 2018 and resulted in fines totaling nearly $27,000.

According to OSHA’s website, serious violations occur when an employer knows of or should know of a situation that has a definite chance of causing serious injury or death, but fails to correct the problem.

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