Today's News

OSHA cites Maine pellet mill for combustible dust and other hazards after explosion (3/12)

OSHA has cited Geneva Wood Fuels LLC for six alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards following an August 2009 explosion at the wood pellet manufacturing plant in Strong, Maine, according to an agency press release.

OSHA's inspection found that the plant's employees were exposed to potential dust explosions and fires stemming from deficiencies in the construction, design or location of the plant's wood pellet processing system, the use of an unapproved spark-producing shop vacuum in a Class II, Division 2 location, and not training employees on specific work procedures to protect themselves from the explosive properties of wood dust.

"Combustible dust is a real and potentially deadly presence in many types of workplaces," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine. "Employers should not assume this hazard is minor or non-existent. Addressing it requires ongoing attention and effort, but proper precautions can prevent or minimize the possibility of a devastating explosion or fire."

Combustible dusts, including wood dust, are fine particles that present a potentially catastrophic explosion hazard when suspended in the air in certain conditions. Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and 780 injured in combustible dust explosions in a variety of industries across the nation. OSHA is working to develop a combustible dust standard.

OSHA's inspection at Geneva Wood Fuels also found unapproved lifting devices, missing safety signs and missing guardrails. All told, the six serious citations are accompanied by $27,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

Geneva Wood Fuels has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Augusta Area Office; telephone 207-626-9160.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

3/31/15 11:00 am EST

Changes to NFPA 70E® – What You Need to Know

NFPA ® for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is revised every three years, providing the most up-to-date requirements for safe work practices to reduce exposure to electrical hazards. This program analyzes several significant changes in 70E ® and is designed to clarify the reasoning behind the changes, and assist in determining how the changes impact employees and employers.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN0315_cover.jpg

2015 March

Check out ISHN's March issue, which features articles about moisture wicking technology, toxic gas detection and fall protection.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015

FDO JAN 2015 COVER

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.