Workers just completed restoration of MBA Polymers Inc.'s explosion-damaged site in Richmond, Calif., but the company now is appealing citations and fines for the Oct. 26 blast and fire that killed one worker.
The state Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 11 serious citations and an eight-item general citation April 19. Proposed fines total $221,400. MBA said it will appeal, and met informally with agency representatives May 15, according to OSHA spokeswoman Susan Gard.
Investigators believe toner dust had accumulated to unsafe levels before the explosion, and cited several potential sources of static electrical discharge as possible causes of ignition. Only a minuscule amount of energy is required to detonate the dust from cartridges being recycled.
The report said the recycling line was not operated properly, and the site lacked adequate ventilation. Failure to prevent dust accumulation or warn employees of fire hazards are among the complaints.
The fire killed one worker and destroyed the central 25,000 square feet of the 90,000-square-foot leased facility.
Before the blast, MBA employed about 100 and recycled computer cases, telephones, toner cartridges and other plastic items at a rate of about 700,000 pounds per month. Its 1999 sales were estimated at about $6 million, mostly from recycling high-impact polystyrene, ABS, polycarbonate and PC/ABS.
Separately, the company is seeking working capital for expansion, said Richard McCombs, MBA chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
MBA plans to raise about $3 million through a private placement of preferred equity, he said. In late 1999, MBA raised $6 million from some 70 investors.