The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is proposing a $13,494 penalty against Textron Aviation for the Dec. 27, 2019 explosion at its east campus Plant 3 in Wichita. Specifically, OSHA alleges that the manufacturer of Cessna and Beechcraft aircraft “failed to protect employees from autoclave explosion hazards.”
According to OSHA, Textron was operating the liquid-nitrogen pressurized vessel referred to as Autoclave 8 when the head suffered a catastrophic thermal fatigue failure as the pressure in the autoclave built. The failure “resulted in an explosion that critically injured 15, exposing employees to amputation, broken bone, concussion, crushing, laceration, and struck-by hazards,” OSHA alleges.
Further, it recommends the business jet airframer find “feasible and acceptable means” to prevent future incidents such as “developing and implementing measures to effectively monitor, control, discover, maintain, and repair pressure vessels, including autoclaves.”
In a statement to AIN, Textron noted the citation and notification of penalty and that it had posted the document for Plant 3 employees to view as required by OSHA. “Textron Aviation continues to work closely in collaboration and coordination with the investigating entities, including OSHA, as well as independent industry experts, as to the final root causes of the explosion and the implementation of additional preventative measures and programs,” Textron’s statement said.