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Carpet co. agrees to improve fire safety at four facilities

fireUnder a settlement reached with the U.S. Department of Labor, Mohawk Industries Inc., has agreed to increase fire protection at its four carpet pad facilities. The agreement resolves citations issued by OSHA in June 2011 for violations found at the company's manufacturing facility in Johnstown.

The Calhoun, Ga.-based company, which employs more than 25,000 workers globally, manufactures carpet pads by grinding, mixing and rebonding recycled polymer foam materials -- a process that can involve explosion hazards.

Mohawk's "rebond" facilities are located in Johnstown, Ga.l Commerce, Texas; Torrington, Conn.; and Tifton, Ga.

Following its investigation, OSHA cited the company with four serious violations involving dust, unguarded floors and electrical hazards. Two other-than-serious violations relate to inadequate hazard communications. The agreement amends the citation and requires the company to abate the alleged fire hazards found at the Johnstown facility. Mohawk has agreed to solicit the services of a licensed professional fire protection engineer to assess potential fire and/or explosion hazards that may be generated during the handling and processing of polymer foam materials, as well as to implement that professional's recommendations. The company also will develop procedures for and schedule the periodic cleanup and removal of polymer foam dust from any surfaces where it might accumulate, provide combustible dust training for all affected employees, conduct monthly inspections of the facilities' fire suppression sprinkler systems and provide training on emergency evacuation to employees.

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