Company fined for exposing workers to combustible dust hazards
12 January 2010
OSHA has cited Endres Processing LLC, headquartered in Rosemount, and its subsidiary, Endres Processing Ohio, with safety and health violations that include exposing workers to combustible dust hazards. The firm manufactures an animal feed supplement from unsold bakery products. Proposed fines total $472,900.
OSHA began a health inspection in June 2009 after receiving information that fires had occurred in the Ohio plant, and that large amounts of dust from the manufacturing process had accumulated throughout the worksite.
"The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will not tolerate the exposure of workers to preventable hazardous conditions," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labour for OSHA Jordan Barab. "The destructive and violent power of dust explosions is clear, and employers have an obligation to keep workers safe."
Following the health inspection, OSHA issued four wilful violations with penalties totalling $252,000 and five serious violations with penalties totalling $14,900. The wilful violations allege the lack of explosion protection, the failure to equip process equipment with combustible dust collection systems, hazardous accumulations of dust, and the use of electrical equipment that was unsafe to use in areas with combustible dust accumulation. The serious violations address hazards from workers breathing the dust, allowing combustible materials in areas where workers were welding, and unsafe electrical equipment and practices. The proposed health violation fines total $266,900.
A safety inspection was also initiated, and OSHA issued two wilful violations with penalties totalling $126,000 and 21 serious violations with penalties totalling $80,000 following that inspection. The wilful violations allege confined space hazards and failing to train employees in using the fire fighting system. The serious violations allege a variety of hazards. They include fall hazards, problems with emergency exit lighting, failure to train on and exposure to hazardous machine-energy sources, and additional unsafe electrical equipment and practices. The proposed safety violation fines total $206,000.
A wilful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result if an accident were to occur from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
The Upper Sandusky site, then owned by Advanced Organics, has been inspected twice since 2004, with serious citations issued for fall protection, combustible dust issues, electrical hazards, machine guarding and fall hazards following the earlier inspections.
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