Mueller facility expected to reopen Monday

FULTON – The Mueller Copper Tube plant is expected to resume production on Monday, less than a week after a fatal accident that killed one worker and injured three others.
Mayor Paul Walker confirmed the opening Friday based on information from company officials.
An explosion on Wednesday killed Phillip Cason Hosch of Sullegent, Ala.
Autopsy results on Hosch are pending. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has asked for toxicology results, but the agency said nobody should jump to conclusions about the request.
“It’s standard procedure for us to get that kind of information,” said Clyde Payne, area director of OSHA’s Jackson office. “It’s not anything unusual.”
OSHA has an investigator looking into what company officials said was an accident. Payne said results could take weeks, but it was too early to say how long it take to determine what caused the explosion.
Hosch’s death was the third at the facility since April 2008.
The Mueller Copper Tube plant in Fulton has paid at least $35,000 in fines since 2002. OSHA found several serious safety violations on two visits to the facility during that time-frame.
Eleven violations were noted in a 2002 report following a complaint.
Ten violations were found in May 2008, a month after an accident killed William Creel, 39, of Golden, when his safety harness got caught up in machinery 30 feet in the air.
In September of last year, Xavier Sanders, 30, a roofing contractor from Arkansas, was killed after stepping through the roof of the plant and falling 40 feet. An investigation revealed the safety gear he was wearing to prevent such a fall failed.
Mueller Copper Tube is owned by Memphis-based Mueller Industries.
John Hansen, president of manufacturing for Mueller, said Thursday that the accident at the plant happened during maintenance that started a fire at the facility.
He declined to comment about the company’s safety record.
The company has four plants – Mueller Copper Tube, Mueller Casting, Mueller Copper Fittings and Mueller Custom Pack – on the same road in Fulton. Mueller Copper Tube is the oldest and largest of the four plants in the complex.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio