OSHA finds company fails to fix combustible dust hazard, despite fire in 2015

Employer facing more than $197K in penalties

Posted July 15, 2016

Federal workplace safety and health inspectors have cited a Queensbury, New York, manufacturer for exposing employees to uncorrected explosion hazards, as well as recurring fire and fall hazards.

OSHA opened a follow-up inspection on January 13, 2016, after the company failed to verify it corrected violations cited during a previous inspection. Agency inspectors found that the company failed to address combustible dust hazards involving the dust collection system it had agreed to correct.

Inspectors also identified new and recurring hazards stemming from the company’s failure to:

  • Address combustible dust related fire and explosion hazards for conveyor equipment and an inoperable spark detection/fire suppression system.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers annually, and maintain them in fully charged and operable condition.
  • Remove accumulations of combustible wood dust and shavings on rafters and other surfaces.
  • Remove piles of wood dust and shavings on floors that create fire, slip, trip, and fall hazards.

As the result of the follow-up inspection, OSHA has issued the company citations for failure to abate previously cited violations, two repeat violations, and three serious violations. The company faces proposed penalties totaling $197,820 for these violations.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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