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Cement company cited by federal agency

July 10, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - St. Lawrence Cement was issued five citations by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in connection with the company's response to a June 21 accident when a worker was severely burned, the federal agency said Monday.

MSHA spokesman Dirk Fillpot said the administration had not decided whether to fine the Hagerstown cement company.

Kevin Molloy, 58, of Hagerstown, suffered respiratory injuries, and first-, second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent to 60 percent of his body when an explosion of steam, hot gases and hot dust occurred in a kiln, according to information in the citations.

Molloy was in critical condition Monday evening at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, a hospital spokesman said.

The citations allege that St. Lawrence showed a "high" degree of negligence by failing to preserve evidence at the scene of the accident, and by failing to notify MSHA of the accident for more than five hours.

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Fillpot said companies are required to report life-threatening accidents within 15 minutes.

In some cases, MSHA said, evidence was removed and discarded, and a portion of the scene was cleaned.

MSHA also cited St. Lawrence Cement for the actions of a foreman, who it alleged tried to restart the kiln before the accident's cause was determined.

The citations did not say that the kiln was restarted, but witness statements obtained by the MSHA indicated another explosion occurred about 25 minutes after Molloy was injured.

No one was hurt in the second explosion.

The company failed to provide and maintain certain protective equipment, and train the workers on its proper use, the citations allege.

Neither Robert Klinger, human resources manager at St. Lawrence Cement, nor Gary Batey, plant manager, could be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

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