OSHA to investigate Titan fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 1999

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Tuesday began investigating a Monday incident that left two Titan Tire of Natchez workers severely burned, an OSHA official said.

Clyde Payne, director of OSHA’s Mississippi office in Jackson, said that OSHA workers will probably visit the plant off and on for a week to survey the site and conduct interviews.

Such investigations usually take about a month to complete.

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&uot;All I&160;can say is that we are cooperating fully with their investigation,&uot;&160;said Dave Fines, manager of the plant.

Workers Paul Baxter and Marcella Robinson, ages and addresses unavailable, were burned in a apparent explosion and fire on the plant’s No. 1 banbury unit, according to fire department reports.

Robinson suffered from a combination of burns on his body.

Baxter received second and third degree burns.

Fire Chief Gary Winborne said the fire and explosion occurred when a banbury – the machine used for mixing raw, melted rubber and carbon black dust to create the material used in making tires – apparently &uot;kind of burped or regurgitated, and dust flew up everywhere.&uot;

It is the first investigation OSHA has conducted at the plant since Titan took over the plant last year, Payne said.

But Payne said the plant has had to pay fines to OSHA in the past for such things as poor housekeeping and electrical violations.