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Region 5 News Release: 10-621-CHI
May 27, 2010
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976
Email: allenscott@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA issues NDK Crystals egregious willful and
serious citations following investigation into explosion that killed bystander
Belvedere, Ill., crystal manufacturer fined $510,000

BELVEDERE, Ill. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited NDK Crystals Inc. in Belvedere with fines of $510,000 for alleged egregious willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following an explosion at the company's crystal manufacturing building that took the life of a truck driver parked at a nearby service station. Workers at this facility were exposed to hazards that created a dangerous environment.

"The employer knowingly operated high pressure vessels even after being warned of the potential for a catastrophic failure due to material design and fabrication defects," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "This simply is unacceptable, and OSHA will use the full extent of the law to ensure the company is held accountable for its actions."

Following its investigation, OSHA cited NDK Crystals with seven willful and five serious violations. The willful violations, one for each of seven individual high pressure vessels, involved the company's continued operation of these high quality quartz production vessels even though it knew the vessels were susceptible to explosion and catastrophic failure as a result of defective design and fabrication. Willful violations are those committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for legal requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The serious violations include failing to evaluate the building for a catastrophic event; failing to have an emergency evacuation program