Oakland, Tennessee, Explosion

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Feb 2, 2011

A worker was killed in an early-January explosion at the Kinematics Research facility in Oakland, Tennessee. The city's Fire Chief, Rudy Doyle, told WREG News that the fire's ignition source was not immediately known.

Kinematics Research is a worksite that uses volatile materials - it manufactures ammunition. After the explosion, four employees escaped from the plant while shells continued exploding. Oakland's Police Chief, Rick Jewell, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the shells kept exploding for an hour.

No Inspection for Volatile Materials Plant?

According to Tennessee State Rep. Barrett Rich, the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) has never inspected the site where the 34-year-old worker died in the explosion.

TOSHA's website says that its mission "is to assure the safety and health of Tennessee's workers." Part of that mission is protecting workers from physical dangers and encouraging safety improvements. Although the cause of the explosion is not yet known, it may have originated with the volatile materials that workers dealt with onsite.

Rep. Rich told WREG News that he plans to meet with TOSHA and ask why no inspection was required for the facility.


Worker safety should be protected, especially in environments with the potential for explosions that can cause serious personal injury or wrongful death.

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