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U.S. Department of Labor | July 13, 2016 BOS-2016-111

Despite fire in 2015, Warren County manufacturer fails to correct
combustible dust hazard, allows recurring fire, explosion and fall hazards
RWS Manufacturing Inc. faces $197K in OSHA fines

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. - Federal workplace safety and health inspectors have cited a Queensbury manufacturer for exposing employees to uncorrected explosion hazards, as well as recurring fire and fall hazards.

The Albany Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened a follow-up inspection on Jan. 13, 2016, after RWS Manufacturing Inc. failed to verify it corrected violations cited during a previous OSHA inspection. Agency inspectors found that the company failed to address combustible dust hazards involving the dust collection system it had agreed to correct.

Inspectors also identified new and recurring hazards stemming from RWS Manufacturing's failure to:

  • Address combustible dust related fire and explosion hazards for conveyor equipment and an inoperable spark detection/fire suppression system.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers annually, and maintain them in fully charged and operable condition.
  • Remove accumulations of combustible wood dust and shavings on rafters and other surfaces.
  • Remove piles of wood dust and shavings on floors that create fire, slip, trip, and fall hazards.

"RWS Manufacturing has disregarded its employees' safety in failing to correct an obvious fire and explosion hazard and in allowing the existence of new and recurring hazards," said Robert Garvey, OSHA's area director in Albany. "Especially disturbing is the fact that, since OSHA's last inspection, a significant fire occurred in the plant's production area in December 2015. For the safety and well-being of its employees RWS Manufacturing must take immediate, comprehensive and effective action to correct these hazards once and for all."

As the result of the follow-up inspection, OSHA has issued RWS Manufacturing citations for failure to abate previously cited violations, two repeat violations, and three serious violations. The company faces proposed penalties totaling $197,820 for these violations. The citations can be viewed here.

RWS Manufacturing has 15 business days from receipt of its 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 amputations, eye loss, 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 Albany office at (518) 464-4338.

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 https://www.osha.gov.

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Media Contact:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov
James C. Lally, 617-565-2074, lally.james.c@dol.gov

Release Number: 16-1467-NEW


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