LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2011)—One of the employees who was injured in a recent fire at compounder Polymer Partners LLC died on Dec. 17 of burn-related injuries.
Mark Stone, 49, died at the University of Louisville Hospital. Stone and three other workers were injured Dec. 7 when, according to the Henderson, Ky.-based company, a “polymer flash” occurred in a work area. Local fire officials said that carbon black was involved in the incident.
A company spokeswoman said Dec. 19 that two of the other three injured employees have been released from area hospitals, while the third remained hospitalized but was in stable condition. She added that the cause of the fire has not been determined.
The fire was under control in about an hour, and production at the site was not affected.
The Dec. 7 fire was the second at the site in the last 10 years. In October 2002, three workers were injured when material overheated in a mixer, and then ignited in an extruder.
Polymer Partners also has been cited three times for safety and training violations by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet in the last eight years—once in 2004 and twice in 2007. The firm was fined a total of almost $27,000 for these violations, according to government records.
The 2004 citation includes a violation saying that employees “were exposed to fire and/or explosion due to the presence of explosive Class II carbon black dust.” It also cites malfunctioning equipment—including worn viscous seals—on a continuous mixer at the plant. Operator error also is cited in reference to the mixer.
Polymer Partners uses carbon black and other additives to make compounds based on a wide variety of commodity and engineering resins. The 35-employee firm has operated in Henderson since 1997.