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OSHA: Flammables put in factory oven before blast

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm •  Published: August 14, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A worker wrongly put parts coated with flammable materials into an electric oven before it exploded at a Pennsylvania factory, killing a visiting employee, federal workplace safety officials said.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed the Mersen USA plant in St. Marys pay a $7,000 fine.

Noah Nichelson, the general manager of the plant about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, had 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, New Jersey.

The blast also injured Neil Carter, 58, of Ridgway, a plant production supervisor. The status of his recovery was not immediately available Thursday.

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