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Please note: As of January 20, 2017, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

 

August 9, 2016

 

OSHA finds Pennsylvania feed mill ignored previously identified severe
combustible dust, grain-handling hazards, while dangers remain
Albion Mill facing $195K fine for 26 violations, including 5 willful

Employer name: Mattocks Five Inc., doing business as Albion Mill

Inspection site: 73 Canal St., Albion, Pennsylvania

Citations issued: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Albion Mill for five willful, nine repeat and 12 serious safety and health violations, and one other-than-serious violation.

Inspection findings: OSHA's inspection on Feb. 10, 2016, was a follow up to previous inspections conducted in 2013. Inspectors identified willful violations when the company:

  • Allowed employees without proper safety equipment to enter a grain-handling bin.
  • Allowed machines to be operated with unguarded belts, pulleys and shafts.
  • Failed to develop or implement a housekeeping program to prevent worker exposure to combustible dust hazards caused by accumulated grain and feed products.
  • Did not maintain inspection certification records when servicing equipment.

Inspectors also found repeat violations that included:

  • A lack of annual employee training on use of portable fire extinguishers.
  • An unguarded, 28-inch deep pit.
  • Electrical hazards.
  • A lack of worker chemical hazard training.
  • No written and implemented hazard communication program.
  • An absence of lockout/tagout procedures, which prevent accidental machine start-up or movement.

The serious violations included:

  • Deficiencies in lockout/tagout procedures and training.
  • Unguarded machine parts.
  • Use of damaged equipment.
  • Employee exposure to fall hazards.
  • Improper storage of propane cylinders.
  • Workers permitted to enter grain handling facility bin without a permit.
  • Lack of employee training on engulfment hazards.

An unguarded pit resulted in the other-than-serious violations.

Quote: "Our follow-up inspection at Albion Mill found employees continue to be exposed to severe combustible dust issues. In some areas, 6 inches or more of dust had accumulated, creating a dangerous risk of explosion," said Theresa A. Naim, director of OSHA's Erie Area Office. "This company had ample opportunity, time and guidance to correct the hazardous conditions but chose business as usual by disregarding the safety of its employees."

Proposed penalties: $195,460

View the citations here and here. After receipt of the citations, Mattocks Five Inc. requested an informal conference with OSHA's area director, which took place on Aug. 8, 2016, and is still ongoing.

For more information on OSHA standards for grain handling facilities, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/

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 Erie Area Office at 804-874-5150.

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: 16-1641-PHI (osha 16-101)


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