Exposing workers to combustible dust hazards was among the multiple workplace health and safety violations found by OSHA at Sterling Seating Inc. of North Arlington, NJ. The agency issued the company 32 serious violations and two other-than-serious violations, with proposed penalties of $117,600.

"Combustible dust, with its fine particulate composition, has the ability to create an explosive atmosphere and rapidly engulf a facility in fire," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. "The accumulations of combustible dust must be removed, and a program must be put in place to prevent any potential build up from occurring."

OSHA initiated an inspection on Oct. 13, 2010, in response to a complaint alleging the hazards.

The company was also cited are failing to provide a lockout/tagout system to control the release of hazardous energy, ensure exits were unblocked, protect employees from electrical and chemical hazards, provide proper machine guarding, provide respiratory protection, and monitor formaldehyde and methylene chlorine exposure.

The two other-than-serious violations were for failing to record injury and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log and to provide workers with information on respirator limitations.

Sterling Seating manufactures commercial seating and restaurant furniture.