On April 11th, the Lake City Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri suffered another explosion, killing one worker and injuring 4 more employees. This explosion took place in the part of the complex that mixes chemicals for primers. The plant was recently award a large military contract worth $92 million for 5.56mm and 7.62mm rifle ammunition.
“Making ammunition is dangerous work, and our employees risk their lives to protect our men and women in uniform,” Lt. Col. Eric Dennis, the officer in command of the Lake City facility, stated. He continued, “This is a sacrifice they make to support our country, and I am humbled by the ultimate sacrifice this employee made today.”
This is not the first explosion at this plant. In March 2001, an explosion injured 6 workers in the area where cartridges are made. The plant has been fined by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety issues in 2008, 2011 and 2012.
ATK was fined $5,600 in 2011, for “serious” issues with highly hazardous chemicals when 2,800 workers were exposed. OSHA graded this situation as a “gravity 10” rating, the highest level the agency gives in their rating system.
Previously, In August 1981, a worker suffered severe burns and later died when 175 pounds of the igniter mix exploded. Later in 1984, another explosion started a fire in a storage building, though no injuries were reported. Then in December 1990, another worker died when the primer mixture exploded.
The plant is located on nearly 4,000 acres and also operates NATO’s test center. It has over 400 buildings, 9 warehouses and 700,000 square feet of storage. Lake City employs 28 people, 27 of whom are civilians. The plan has the capacity to make 1.4 billion rounds annually. You can distinguish Lake City produced ammunition by their “LC” headstamp.