Seating Company Slapped with $117,600 in Fines for Combustible Dust, Health Hazards

In addition to the combustible dust hazards, among 32 serious violations cited are failing to provide a lockout/tagout system to control the release of hazardous energy, ensure exits were unblocked, and protect employees from electrical and chemical hazards.

OSHA has cited Sterling Seating Inc. for 34 workplace health and safety violations at its North Arlington, N.J., facility, including exposing workers to combustible dust hazards. Proposed penalties total $117,600.

“Combustible dust, with its fine particulate composition, has the ability to create an explosive atmosphere and rapidly engulf a facility in fire,” said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA’s Hasbrouck Heights Area Office. “The accumulations of combustible dust must be removed, and a program must be put in place to prevent any potential build up from occurring.”

OSHA initiated an inspection on Oct. 13, 2010, in response to a complaint alleging the hazards.

In addition to the combustible dust hazards, among 32 serious violations cited are failing to provide a lockout/tagout system to control the release of hazardous energy, ensure exits were unblocked, protect employees from electrical and chemical hazards, provide proper machine guarding, provide respiratory protection, and monitor formaldehyde and methylene chlorine exposure. Citations carry a penalty of $116,900.

Two other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to record injury and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log and to provide workers with information on respirator limitations. The citation for the record-keeping violation carries a $700 penalty.

Sterling Seating is a manufacturer of commercial seating and restaurant furniture.

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

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