US Department of Labor's OSHA fines All-Feed Processing and Packaging
$254,000 for exposing workers to combustible dust, respiratory hazards
Company has long history of OSHA violations
GALVA, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has again cited All-Feed Processing and Packaging Inc. for willful and repeat violations for exposing workers to combustible and respiratory dust hazards. In addition to creating an explosion hazard, the plant's high concentration of airborne dust could cause workplace-induced asthma* and other illnesses. The company was cited for willful electrical and equipment violations for failing to provide approved equipment for working near combustible dust. OSHA initiated an inspection in November 2013 after a complaint and found one repeat and five willful violations. OSHA has proposed penalties of $254,000 for the pet food manufacturer, which remains in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"All-Feed Processing and Packaging continues to demonstrate a complete disregard for the health and safety of its workers by failing to protect them from combustible dust hazards. These can ignite quickly-without warning-and can cause catastrophic damage," said Tom Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "The employees at All-Feed deserve an employer that cares about their safety, and this company keeps failing to provide that."
Because of the most recent inspection, OSHA has cited the company for five willful violations involving exposing workers to combustible pea flour dust by failing to install a dust collection system with explosion protection. Any combustible material can burn rapidly when in a finely divided form. If such a dust is suspended in the air in the right concentration, under certain conditions, it can become explosive. OSHA also found that electrical equipment and forklifts used by the company were not approved for use in combustible-dust atmospheres. Arcs and sparks from forklifts had the potential to ignite the dust, causing an explosion hazard.
The force from such an explosion can cause employee deaths, injuries and building destruction. For example, three workers were killed in a 2010 titanium dust explosion in West Virginia, and 14 workers were killed in a 2008 sugar dust explosion in Georgia. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that led to the deaths of 119 workers, 718 injuries and extensive damage to numerous industrial facilities.
All-Feed was cited for allowing worker exposure to airborne concentrations of dust by failing to implement engineering controls and mandating respiratory protection use to prevent dust particle inhalation and struck by hazards, all willful violations.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
One repeat violation was cited for failing to establish an audiometric testing program for all workers whose noise exposure exceeded an eight-hour time weighted average of 85 decibels. OSHA issues repeat violations when a company has previously been cited for the same or a similar violation within the last five years. OSHA cited All-Feed for 23 safety and health violations in November 2011, including willful violations of OSHA's air contaminant, respiratory protection and hearing conservation standards.
To view the citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/All-FeedProcessingandPackaging_948509_0509_14.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/All-FeedProcessingandPackaging_948541_0509_14.pdf*
OSHA has inspected All-Feed 14 times since 2000, resulting in more than 70 violations.
In early 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division, found Galva-based All-Feed in civil contempt of court for failing to allow OSHA to inspect its facility between May 4-July 5, 2011, to monitor employee's eight-hour time-weighted average exposure to airborne dust. After gaining entry to conduct the monitoring, workers were found to be exposed to dust particles in excess of the time-weighted allowance per shift.
All-Feed has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal 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 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 Peoria Area Office at 309-589-7033.
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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