An OSHA inspection that began as part of a national emphasis program on combustible dust in the workplace found violations in that area and many others at a Mississippi sawmill recently.
Joe N. Miles & Sons Inc. of Silver Creek has been cited for 19 safety violations that carry proposed total penalties of $67,800.
The citations include one willful violation carrying a $44,000 penalty for allowing an electrical junction box to be left open in an area where combustible dust accumulates, exposing workers to fire and electrocution. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
"Combustible dust is dangerous, but OSHA's standards provide safeguards that this employer needs to implement," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson.
The company also was cited with 16 serious violations and a penalty of $23,800. The violations include a dangerous accumulation of combustible dust; unsafe exit routes; improper dispensing of flammable liquids; failing to inspect lockout/tagout procedures of energy sources; failing to recharge fire extinguishers; lack of signage prohibiting foot and vehicle traffic in the log unloading and storage area; handling corrosive chemicals without required eyewash and safety showers; using damaged hooks on hoists to lift loads; using damaged welding cables; failing to have guardrails on elevated walkways; and failing to provide machine guarding. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Two other-than-serious violations with no penalty were issued for failing to provide warnings or labels on hazardous chemicals. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.