OSHA issues citation, penalties in deadly Madill plant explosion - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

OSHA issues citation, penalties in deadly Madill plant explosion

MADILL -- An explosion at a plant in Madill took the lives of two employees in January.

Now, six months later, an investigation into whether the business violated standards set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has been completed.

Since the accident on January 20, 2014, inspectors have been trying to determine whether Mid-American Steel and Wire violated OSHA standards.

Becky Peterson knew one of the victims, Brody Davenport, all his life.

"I've known them since he was born," she said.

Peterson's oldest son was his best friend. The youngest was in his wedding in August.

"He was a kind, thoughtful young man, respectful of authority," Peterson said.

Their families also attend the same church.

So when Peterson heard there'd been a horrible accident at the Madill plant Davenport and his dad both worked, she picked up the phone.

"I called his mom and obviously she couldn't really answer me good but she said Michael's home but the other one isn't," Peterson recalled. "It was just unbelievable."

Davenport, 23, was killed when a furnace at Mid-American Steel and Wire exploded.

Another employee, Gonzalo Martinez, died too.

An OSHA investigation just released resulted in four violations. All are listed as "serious."

"Yes, there are things that probably could have been prevented, but sometimes God has a bigger plan than what we see," Peterson said.

The first violation states "the employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical injury." It resulted in a proposed penalty of $7,000.

The second violation states "exit routes were not arranged so that employees would not have to travel toward a high hazard area." It said on January 20, "the path of travel to emergency exit routes required employees to walk in areas that were unshielded or not effectively shielded from the electric arc furnace." It resulted in a proposed penalty of $7,000.

The third violation states "the employer did not develop and implement an emergency response plan to handle anticipated emergencies." It also said Melt Shop Electric Arc Furnace employees were not adequately trained in emergency procedures for the affected area. It also resulted in a proposed penalty of $7,000.

The fourth says "protective equipment was used" adding furnace operators were not required to wear fire resistant neck coverings. It resulted in a proposed penalty of $5,610.

In all, the proposed penalties add up to $26,610.

"There's not a bad thing that could be said about Brody," Peterson said.

Regardless of the investigation's outcome, Peterson says those who knew Davenport are finding peace that their friend and family member is in a better place.

"So that's what we will chose to hope in and trust in," she said.

It's unknown, to us, whether Mid-American Steel and Wire will contest OSHA's findings. Thursday, our offer to comment was declined.

The company has until August 8 to abate the violations.

It has 15 days from time it received the citation to contest it.