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Texas company’s occupational hazard violations lead to large fines

Texas company's occupational hazard violations lead to large fines
Texas company's occupational hazard violations lead to large fines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that Texas cabinet manufacturer Carmen Creative Cabinets LLC was hit with 32 safety and health violations that stemmed from workers' exposure to a broad range of hazards.

According to an OSHA release, workers were exposed to combustible dust accumulations and the threat of amputations from unguarded heavy machinery, including saws. OSHA's Austin office performed an inspection of the company's manufacturing facility in Belton, where workers had filed complaints about alleged hazards.

The total penalties amounted to fines of $64,800.

"By failing to find and fix workplace hazards, this employer is exposing workers to possible injuries or much worse," said Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director in Austin. "The lack of machine guarding and the accumulation of combustible dust are obvious hazards that Carmen Creative Cabinets should have addressed."

The safety violations were for failures found all over the facility, including improper conduit for compressed air, as well as the failure to train and certify forklift operators, install the appropriate electrical equipment, install guards on large saws and provide safety switches for powered nail guns.

There was also no access to the required amount of fire extinguishers and electrical breaker boxes.

"The health violations include failing to provide adequate housekeeping and exhaust systems for combustible dust accumulations, implement a hazard communication program and training on the use of chemicals, provide personal protective equipment, maintain restroom facilities in a sanitary condition and provide first-aid supplies," OSHA said in its release.

The combustible dust explosion hazard, which may have been one of the most dangerous workers were exposed to, is often found in operations in several industries, including food, grain, plastics, wood and paper operations. To demonstrate the danger of combustible dust, OSHA cited a 2008 explosion at a West Virginia facility that killed 14 workers. Between 1980, and 2005, there were 281 combustible dust incidents that killed 119 workers and injured another 718.

Implementing a strong approved OSHA maintenance management program can help keep tabs on potential violations, resulting in higher savings and less costly downtime. 

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