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OSHA cites Illinois pasta company for 6 violations after dust explosion

16 April 2012

On April 10, OSHA cited Gilster-Mary Lee Corp for six safety violations and is levying a $231,000 fine after an inquiry into a combustible dust explosion which took place at its manufacturing plant in Steeleville, Illinois, on October 6, 2011. Two maintenance workers suffered serious upper body burns in the blast.

The Gilster-Mary Lee plant at Steeleville
The Gilster-Mary Lee plant at Steeleville

"Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. has a responsibility to protect workers conducting welding operations from known hazards in its manufacturing plants, including explosive dust," said Karl Armstrong, director of OSHA's local office.

Investigators found the company failed to enforce proper workplace safety measures, which led to the combustion. A dust collector exploded while the workers were repairing a hole in the side of a metal trough. The employer failed to maintain safety in workplace, and the agency issued three willful and three serious penalties against the company.

The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, and will be subject to follow-up inspections by the agency. 

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