Monday, March 16, 2009

OSHA Region 4 Tough on Combustible Dust

In less than a week several OSHA Regional New Releases issued from the OSHA Region 4 main office in Atlanta, Georgia provided details concerning three establishments, proposing over $400,000 in penalties for safety and health violations, which includes combustible dust hazard violations. Each company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA Region 4 includes the states of
Alabama , Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The numerous citations came from the manufacturing sectors of wood, food, and transportation equipment. Of special interest was the national industry NAICS 336360 Motor Vehicle Seating and Interior Trim Manufacturing, which is not included in the OSHA Combustible Dust NEP as an at risk industry, yet the Georgia facility was cited for using high pressure compressed air to clean equipment resulting in clouds of resin dust, and a second repeat violation for exposing employees to high concentrations of airborne particulates.

Reviewing details of OSHA inspections conducted at manufacturing facilities in Region 4 brings to light that OSHA inspectors are conducting combustible dust inspection and enforcement activities at many other facilities with NAICS not listed in Appendix D-1 and D-2 of the OSHA Combustible Dust NEP. This enhanced enforcement activity concerning combustible dust hazards in the workplace illustrates that all manufacturing and non-manufacturing facilities that handle combustible particulate solids that generate combustible dust must proactively address dust hazards with preventative administrative and engineering control measures.

NAICS 321113 D-1 NEP Sawmills
NAICS 311312 D-1 NEP Cane Sugar Refining
NAICS 336360 Non-NEP
Motor Vehicle Seating and Interior Trim Mfg.


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