Contractor cited for deadly roadside explosion

BIRMINGHAM – The contractor at a utility construction site in Harpersville where an explosion killed one person has been fined more than $28,000 for violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Weatherford, Texas-based Legend Directional Services LLC was cited for improperly storing flammable materials and failing to train employees on the hazards associated with such materials.

The explosion at the construction site off U.S. 280, near the intersection with Farmingdale Road, on May 9 killed Christopher Anderson of Mississippi.

Four other workers were injured, and the roadway was also shut down, as the explosion damaged passing vehicles and even a nearby residence.

Work being performed in the area was to install natural gas lines.

The explosion occurred when Anderson opened a storage container, exposing leaked flammable materials.

Harpersville Police Chief Jimmy Macon said at the time that the explosion could be felt across the area.

“You could feel it up to a mile away because I was getting my daughter in the car at our house, and we felt it,” he said.

Residents several miles away at the time of the blast contacted authorities, Macon said.

OSHA’s citations included:

  • The employer failed to provide effective information and training on the hazards associated with flammable chemicals. The violation must be abated by Nov. 29, and the proposed penalty was $6,467.
  • Liquefied petroleum gas tanks were stored in an unventilated Conex container. The violation must be abated by Nov. 21, and the proposed penalty was $9,054.
  • Oxygen and acetylene cylinders were stored in an unventilated Conex container, and a stored oxygen cylinder was not separated from fuel-gas cylinders or combustible materials by a minimum of 20 feet. The violation must be abated by Nov. 29, and the proposed penalty was $12,934.

The total proposed penalties against Legend Directional Services LLC was $28,455.