PA Feed Mill Cited for Repeat Combustible Dust Violation

feed millA feed mill in western Pennsylvania was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for ignoring hazards that had been previously recognized and allowing them to continue. They are expected to pay significant fines as a result of their willful disregard of violations given to them in a previous OSHA visit.

The Albion feed mill received 26 separate workplace safety violations, including citations for exposing workers to combustible dust accumulated from grain and feed. In some areas the dust was six inches thick, said the OSHA Erie area director, Theresa Naim. If ignited, that dust could post a serious hazard to employees.

Inspectors visited the site in 2013 and several hazards that were found then were still not corrected in this past February 2016 inspection, which was a follow-up to that earlier site visit. They received five willful citations, nine repeat, 12 serious violations and one other-than-serious violation. Proposed penalties total $195,460. Naim said the company had “ample” time to correct the hazards but failed to correct them.

The willful violations included allowing employees to enter grain-handling bins without the correct safety equipment, failing to guard belts and pulleys on machines that were in operation, and failing to prevent employees from being exposed to combustible dust. They received repeat violations for failing to train employees on how to use fire extinguishers or on chemical hazards, they had a two and a half foot deep pit that was unguarded and in the open, they failed to implement lockout mechanisms on machines to prevent them from starting up unexpectedly.

The owner of the mill, Mattocks Five Inc., requested a conference with the OSHA area director on August 8th and as of now they are still discussing the violations.

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