Georgia’s AGrowStar cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for combustible dust and other hazards; more than $74,000 in fines proposed

Georgia’s AGrowStar cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for combustible dust and other hazards; more than $74,000 in fines proposed

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited AGrowStar LLC for 22 safety and health violations, including combustible dust accumulations, following an inspection that began in September after the agency received a complaint about the company’s grain handling facility in Fort Valley. Proposed penalties for serious violations total $74,375.

The company has been cited with 20 serious violations for allowing combustible dust to accumulate, and failing to develop and implement lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources; develop a housekeeping program for areas where wheat, corn and soybean were stored; train industrial truck operators; prevent amputation hazards by guarding machinery; develop an emergency action plan; train on an annual basis employees who are exposed to fire or explosion hazards; secure a permit prior to entering a confined space to perform maintenance; conduct atmospheric testing before entering silos; list chemicals in the hazard communication program; provide fall protection; and properly install and repair electrical equipment. A serious violation occurs 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 monetary penalties include failing to develop and implement a respiratory program for workers required to wear respirators, and to maintain inspection certification of storage and grain moving equipment at the facility. 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.

“This employer put workers at risk of serious injury or death by failing to implement proper safety and health protections,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees have a safe and healthy work environment.”

AGrowStar has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Atlanta-East office at 770-493-6644.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov .

02.29.2012