OSHA Enforcement ActivityA New York manufacturing company exposed its workers to fire, explosion hazards and a potential occupational carcinogen, according to OSHA, which has levied a $51,800 fine against Salko Kitchens, Inc.

"These workers face both immediate and long-term health and safety hazards from on-site conditions," said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. "The combustible dust can ignite and explode in seconds, and the methylene chloride is cancerous.”

Following a December, 2013 inspection, OSHA cited Salko for 13 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards at its New Windsor, N.Y., plant, which manufactures cabinetry and countertops for kitchens.

Exposure effects range from nausea to cancer

The agency found that combustible dust accumulated on plant pipes, equipment, supports and ductwork, and an inadequate system did not collect and remove the dust safely. In addition, while spraying adhesives on countertops and molding during the manufacturing process, employees were overexposed to the hazardous chemical methylene chloride*. Overexposure to methylene chloride may result in mental confusion, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and eye and respiratory tract irritation. Long-term exposure may cause cancer and damage to the central nervous system.

Lack of respiratory, hand, eye protection

OSHA's inspection determined that feasible administrative and engineering controls were not in place to reduce methylene chloride exposure levels. Workers lacked adequate respiratory protection, protective gloves, eye protection, training, and medical evaluations and information on methylene chloride. In addition, employees were exposed to electric shock from exposed wiring and crushing injuries from powered industrial trucks driven by untrained operators.