OSHA fines Master Mechanical $50K over Minnehaha Academy explosion

Heating and cooling company Master Mechanical is contesting several fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over its part in a school explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis last August, according to an OSHA report.

The company is being fined $50,000 in total, including two $25,000 fines for deficiencies in safety training and education for its staff and one for failing to install "lockout devices" on equipment, the report said.

A father-son team working for Master Mechanical was working at the school on Aug. 2 when a natural gas leak caused an explosion that destroyed much of the school and killed two staff members. The two men were removing piping to relocate a gas meter when they accidentally opened one of the lines at full pressure, according to a National Transportation Safety Board investigation, causing the leak and subsequent explosion.

The OSHA fine was levied on Jan. 12, with Master Mechanical contesting the findings Jan. 31.