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OSHA Regional News Brief
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Region 3


Please note: As of January 20, 2017, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

 

May 4, 2016

 

Insulation manufacturer exposed workers to combustible dust, other safety
hazards at Wilkes-Barre plant; OSHA proposes $66K penalty

Employer name: US GreenFiber LLC

Inspection site: 1 Passan Drive, Building 2, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Citations issued: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one willful, four serious, and two other-than-serious citations on April 28, 2016.

Inspection findings: OSHA's Oct. 30, 2015, a complaint inspection determined insulation manufacturer US GreenFiber failed to protect employees from deflagration, fire and spark hazards by ensuring dust-handling equipment had explosion protection systems such as deflagration venting, automatic suppression and fire/detection systems. The willful citation was cited for these hazards.

Accumulations of cellulose fiber dust on equipment or surfaces, unguarded platforms, lack of fire extinguisher training, and employees exposed to crushing hazards resulted in serious citations.

The other-than-serious violations involved employees allowed to wear dust mask respirators and work with hazardous chemicals without proper training.

Quote: "OSHA cited US GreenFiber in 2010 for the same combustible dust hazards at the company's plant in Ohio. Once again, we have found this company continues to jeopardize its workers' safety by failing to implement necessary safeguards. This disregard of safety standards is unacceptable," said Mark Stelmack, OSHA's area director in Wilkes-Barre.

Proposed penalties: $66,600

Background: Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, GreenFiber manufactures cellulose fiber insulation, fire and sound products, all made with a minimum of 85 percent recycled paper fibers. The company has seven U.S. manufacturing plants and sells its products to building supply retailers, manufactured housing builders and insulation contractors in the U.S. and Canada.

The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/USGreenFiberLLC_1102514.pdf

The employer 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 Wilkes-Barre Area Office at 570-826-6538.

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.

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Media Contacts:

Joanna Hawkins, 215-861-5101, hawkins.joanna@dol.gov
Leni Fortson, 215-861-5102, uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov

Release Number: 16-916-PHI (osha 16-048)


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