Thursday, October 13, 2016
US Nitrogen Fined in Worker Accident
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has fined US Nitrogen $500 for failure to promptly report an accident in which a 36-year-old employee suffered burns to his face and arms.
According to agency records although the accident occurred on Aug. 4 it was not reported until Aug. 9. State law requires that accidents in which the victim requires in-patient hospitalization be reported within 24-hours of their occurrence.
According to the report, an investigation by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) found that an employee, identified as Ricky Reedy, suffered burns to his face and hands in the Aug. 4 accident.
Reedy, a maintenance mechanic, did not respond to an email request for comment.
Reedy was transferred from a local hospital to a Georgia hospital with a burn treatment unit.
According to the state report, US Nitrogen paid the $500 fine on Oct. 6. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
"The employee's left forearm was burned by a duct pipe and his face was burned by heated steam from that same duct pipe," the TOSHA report states.
The report states that Reedy was assisting another worker as they attempted to replace a duct in the ammonium nitrate plant on Pottertown Road in Midway, Tenn..
"Ricky proceeded to install the duct into the air eduction unit. At this time steam came out of the end of the duct that Ricky was holding and burned his face. Ricky then let go of that end and the duct rolled on to his arm causing a burn," the TOSHA report states.
The accident occurred at 9:45 a.m.
The state inspectors interviewed other US Nitrogen workers who witnessed the accident including Anthony Fillers, Chad Killion and Jonathan Colyer.
"The root cause of the Ricky Reedy accident was inadequate identification of the hazards (steam) as associated with the Safe Work Permit process, before and during required work assignment," the report states.
"The chief contributing factor," it continues, "is an operator not following the Safe Work Permit program, due to lack of familiarity and ambiguity."
According to the report Reedy went to work for US Nitrogen a little over two years prior to the accident.
The report states that the ductwork the crew was working on had been taken out of operation following the incident
In response to the report US Nitrogen told the state agency that meetings were to be held and training sessions on compliance with the Safe Work Permit program were to be completed by Sept. 30.
A US Nitrogen employee told the state that he didn't file report with the state because "he thought his corporate office would report the injury and found out later that they did not."
The report states that a total of 85 persons are employed at the Midway facility.