Morton Thiokol has agreed to pay a $4,700 fine for violations alleged by the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Administration in connection with the explosion of an MX missile engine that killed five employees Dec. 29, 1987.
Under terms of the agreement announced Monday, Morton Thiokol does not admit the validity of six citations issued by UOSH, but agrees to continue using certain safety procedures implemented shortly after the fire, UOSH officials said.Furthermore the company has agreed not to contest the citations in return for UOSH withdrawing certain citations the agency earlier designated as "willful" and refiling them as "serious."
Morton Thiokol will also make a voluntary payment of $10,000 to an institution of higher education within the state to be used to promote occupational safety and health.
A UOSH news release detailing the settlement reads:
"Both Morton Thiokol and UOSH believe that the settlement announced Monday properly addresses the paramount concern of both parties regarding worker safety.
"The final resolution of these citations will permit both Morton Thiokol and UOSH to invest resources in programs for worker safety rather than litigation, thus furthering the goals of both parties."
Morton Thiokol spokesman Rocky Raab said because of a confidentiality agreement, his company plans no further comment on the matter.
UOSH originally issued six citations for alleged violations - three of them termed "willful serious violations" in connection with the blast - and sought $31,700 in penalties.
However, Morton Thiokol announced in April that it intended to contest the state's charges and the two sides entered negotiations.
An Air Force team investigating the mishap blamed either static electricity or friction as the cause of ignition of the solid fuel. They recommended better grounding, increased humidity and more care in withdrawing cores from the engines in the future.
Morton Thiokol officials have contended no one would have been killed if the employees had been following existing rules and procedures.