Flammables Placed in Plant Oven Prior to Deadly Blast

By JOE MANDAK | August 15, 2014

Federal safety officials say a worker wrongly put parts coated with flammable materials into an electric oven before it exploded at a Mersen USA plant in Pennsylvania, killing a visiting employee.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing the plant based in St. Marys pay a $7,000 fine.

Noah Nichelson, the general manager of the plant about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, has previously blamed the explosion on “incorrect placement of materials in an otherwise safely operating curing oven.” Nichelson didn’t immediately return calls for comment Thursday as to whether the company will contest the OSHA fine.

The Jan. 30 explosion killed 52-year-old Arwed Ralf Uecker, the global director of research and development for Mersen USA Bn Group, based in Boonton, N.J. The blast also injured a plant supervisor.

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