US wood pellet manufacturer to fight OSHA fines
03 May 2012
New England Wood Pellet LLC of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, has met the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration to discuss proposed fines totalling $147,000, follow related to an October 2011 explosion and fire at the plant.
The October 2011 explosion and fire at the Jaffrey plant in New Hampshire caused extensive damage
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the fire started in the pellet mill, was transported through several conveying systems to a pellet cooler and then to a dust collector, and caused several other flash fires, citing an OSHA news release.
OSHA issued two repeat citations with $140,000 in fines for failing to provide a workplace free of recognised fire and explosion hazards, and for using unapproved electrical equipment to vacuum combustible dust. OSHA said it cited New England Wood Pellet for similar violations in July 2008.
In its 28-page citation, OSHA also cited the wood pellet plant for buildup of combustible dust on equipment and surfaces and proposed a $7,000 fine.
New England Wood Pellet says it disagrees with OSHA's conclusions.
“The company finds the recent public comments of OSHA's Area Director for New Hampshire about New England Wood Pellet to be one-sided and unfairly dismissive of the company's past and ongoing efforts to improve worker safety at its Jaffrey facility,” the company said in a statement. “Since 2008, New England Wood Pellet has worked cooperatively with her office, retained engineers and consultants, and spent over $2 million on various improvements to enhance worker safety at its Jaffrey facility.”
But on April 27, firefighters were called to another fire at the wood pellet plant, and took several hours to extinguish the blaze.
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