Explosion leaves 3 injured at steel plant with past OSHA violations, Ohio officials say

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Three workers were injured in an explosion and fire at a steel plant, Ohio officials said in local news reports.

Perry Township Fire Department responded to a call at TimkenSteel’s Faircrest Plant in Canton at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, Cleveland 19 reported, citing fire officials.

Officials said a furnace exploded, causing a fire, and injuring three employees, Fox 8 reported.

The employees were taken to a hospital and their conditions are unknown, Cleveland 19 reported.

“The cause of the incident remains under investigation, but we do know that the fire started in the melt shop area involving a furnace,” fire Chief Larry Sedlock said, according to the Canton Repository.

In a statement reported by the Canton Repository, TimkenSteel said, “The safety and wellbeing of our employees is a top priority, and we are continuing to investigate the cause of the incident.”

TimkenSteel produces carbon steel, alloy, and other materials for automotive, industrial, and energy markets, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. The company has six plants and warehouses in the U.S. and Mexico. The Faircrest plant is a 20 acre-building on a 450-acre site in Canton, about 60 miles south of Cleveland.

OSHA has cited TimkenSteel for five safety violations since 2014 at multiple plants, agency news releases showed. In total, OSHA has fined TimkenSteel over $1 million.

The company has contested some of these violations, according to a February 2016 news release from OSHA.

Most recently, OSHA fined the company $315,952 and placed it in a “Severe Violator Enforcement Program,” according to a June 22 news release. OSHA’s investigation of a fatal crushing incident that took place in December 2021 at the company’s Gambrinus plant in Canton found the company failed to “install guards or provide proper hand tools” necessary to safely operate a machine.

According to the Canton Repository, OSHA investigators are expected to arrive at the Faircrest plant Wednesday afternoon.

In an earlier recent incident, Perry Township Professional Firefighters responded to a dumpster fire at the same location on Friday, July 22, according to a Facebook news release.

TimkenSteel did not respond immediately to the request for comment.

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