Propellant Explosion Kills Worker at UT Auto Parts Plant

Promontory, UT – A propellant explosion trapped an Autoliv North America worker inside a burning building. He was rescued, but died of his injuries.

64-year-old Ronald Larson was trapped in a fire that consumed the mixing portion of Autoliv North America’s Promontory (UT) facility. He died at the hospital following an explosion in a laboratory where he was making propellants for air bag inflators earlier this week.

OSHA is leading the investigation into the industrial accident that cost 64-year-old Ronald Larson his life. The immediate cause of the explosion has yet to be fully been determined.

According to local media, Larson “was trapped inside and on site personnel were making efforts to try and extricate him from [Autoliv’s mixing] building.” The employee was successfully extricated from the building and taken to a local hospital with severe burns. Unfortunately, Larson had stopped breathing upon arrival at the hospital. Lifesaving efforts were in progress, but he was pronounced deceased a short time afterward.

Larson is reported to have been alone in the mixing portion of the building at the time of the explosion and subsequent fire. Two other workers were injured in the fire and in trying to rescue their co-worker. Their injuries are not life-threatening.

Autoliv is based in Sweden and has several facilities in Utah under the Autoliv North America brand. They are the world’s largest automotive safety supplier.

This Autoliv North America location in Promontory was the site of two previous industrial explosions and fires. In 2015 an explosion injured an employee there, and in 2013 a flash fire burned a worker’s arms and face. These prior incident will factor into OSHA’s investigation of the company’s safety practices and could lead to steeper fines if lapses in environmental health and safety are found to have been willful.

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