St. Lawrence Cement fined over accident that left employee burned

November 29, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - St. Lawrence Cement hasn't decided whether it will contest an $11,190 fine that the Mine Safety and Health Administration recently ordered the company to pay in the aftermath of a June 21 accident that left an employee severely burned.

Amy Louviere, MSHA director of public affairs, said the company was fined Nov. 20 and has 30 days to pay unless an appeal is made.

Gary Batey, general manager of St. Lawrence Cement, said Wednesday that company officials will determine whether to contest the fine later, but he was "reasonably certain" they would pay it.

He said St. Lawrence Cement had taken steps to improve safety after Kevin Molloy, 58, of Hagerstown, was burned when an explosion of steam, hot gases and hot dust occurred in a kiln.


Molloy suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent to 60 percent of his body in the accident, according to MSHA documents.

Molloy's brother said last month that Molloy was released Oct. 26 from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore and was undergoing physical rehabilitation.

St. Lawrence Cement was fined for three violations, including failure to provide employees with protective equipment and failure to preserve evidence at the accident scene, Louviere said.

In addition, the company was fined for failure to follow the correct procedures during "repairs or maintenance" of machinery when a foreman tried to restart the kiln before the cause of the accident was determined, the documents show.

The kiln was not restarted, but witness statements indicated another explosion occurred about 25 minutes after Molloy was injured, according to the documents.

No one was hurt in the second blast.

St. Lawrence Cement also was cited for failing to notify MSHA within 15 minutes of a life-threatening accident, according to the documents.

Batey said St. Lawrence Cement didn't meet the 15-minute deadline, in part because company officials didn't know Molloy's condition was life-threatening.

He said he received a call at 5 a.m. the day of the accident and arrived on-site 30 minutes later. By then, Molloy had been taken to the hospital, he said.

"The report I got was the injuries were like a sunburn," Batey said.

The documents show St. Lawrence Cement didn't report the accident for more than five hours after it happened.

Batey said St. Lawrence Cement has helped Molloy beyond the medical assistance that insurance offers.

Employees have taken donations to help pay Molloy's expenses and volunteers went to the family's house in the summer to mow the lawn, Batey said.

St. Lawrence Cement was fined the following amounts for failure to:

· Preserve evidence: $207

· Follow procedures during repairs or maintenance: $7,578

· Provide protective equipment and clothing for hazards and irritants: $3,405

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