Region 4 News Release: 12-1493-ATL (288)
Aug. 9, 2012
Contact: Michael D'Aquino
Alabama furniture manufacturer cited by US Department of Labor's
OSHA for exposing workers to combustible dust, other hazards
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Scholar Craft Products Inc., doing business as Melsur Corp., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 25 safety and health violations following an inspection at its Birmingham furniture manufacturing plant. OSHA initiated an inspection in February as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Amputations and its Local Emphasis Program on High Noise Industries. Proposed penalties for serious violations total $94,500.
Nineteen serious safety and health violations involve failing to protect workers from falling onto dangerous equipment, develop and use "lockout/tagout" procedures when performing equipment maintenance and servicing, maintain the dust collection system to prevent potential fires or explosions, install dust collection systems in areas where combustible dust is present, provide an effective hearing conservation program, provide proper personal protective equipment, ensure that employees use seatbelts while operating industrial trucks, provide initial and annual fit tests for respirator users, ensure danger signs are posted on equipment generating combustible dust, properly secure loads to forklifts, reduce the pressure on an air hose to less than 30 pounds per square inch, conduct initial monitoring for formaldehyde exposure, train employees on the hazards associated with formaldehyde, train workers on the hazards associated with combustible dust and provide medical evaluations for respirator users. Additional violations include allowing combustible dust to accumulate on floors, equipment and walls; improperly securing materials in storage; and a lack of machine guarding on belt sanders, grinders and a table saw. 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.
Citations that do not carry monetary penalties have been issued for six other-than-serious safety and health violations, including failing to ensure that forklift operators receive formal training on the safe operation of equipment, ensure that the nameplates of powered industrial trucks are legible, have an effective pest control program and prevent employees from standing under elevated loads. 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 inspection identified a broad range of hazards that, if left uncorrected, expose workers to unguarded equipment, potential falls and combustible dust hazards," said Ramona Morris, OSHA's acting area director in Birmingham. "Employers cannot wait for an OSHA inspection to identify the hazards that expose their employees to serious injury."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Birmingham or contest the citations and penalties 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 Birmingham office at 205-731-1564.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.