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Region 4 News Release: 11-654-ATL (219)
May 16, 2011
Contact: Michael D'Aquino      Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076      404-562-2078
Email: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov      wald.michael@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Huntsville, Ala., cabinet maker for
exposing workers to safety and health hazards, including combustible dust

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Huntsville American Cabinets Inc. in Huntsville for 21 safety and health violations, including the accumulation of combustible dust. Proposed penalties total $54,000.

OSHA began an inspection in January as part of its National Emphasis Program on Amputations and cited the cabinet maker for 16 serious safety violations with penalties of $44,400 for failing to keep walls, floors and equipment clean and free from the accumulation of combustible dust; allowing more than 60 gallons of flammable liquid to be stored in cabinets; not selecting the correct personal protective equipment for workers handling chemicals; failing to have a lockout/tagout program to prevent accidental energy start-up; not having standard railings on the stairs; several electrical deficiencies; and amputation hazards associated with a lack of machine guarding.

Four serious health violations with $9,600 in proposed penalties are related to not providing hearing tests for employees exposed to noise levels over the permissible exposure limit; failing to develop a respiratory protection program; exposing workers to respirable dust 3.6 times the permissible exposure limit; and lacking a hazard communications program for handling hazardous chemicals. 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.

One other-than-serious violation was cited with no monetary penalty for failing to visually inspect fire extinguishers at least monthly. An other-than-serious citation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"This company has jeopardized the health and safety of its workers by creating an environment where the accumulation of combustible dust could ignite and cause serious injuries," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "The accumulation of combustible dust and all hazards must be eliminated from the workplace."

For more information on combustible dust, visit http://www.osha.gov/dsg/combustibledust/index.html.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office at 950 N. 22 St., Suite 1050, Birmingham, Ala. 35203; telephone 205-731-1534. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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