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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Endres Processing LLC of Kansas City, Kan., for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an inspection alleging fire and explosion hazards from combustible dust. Proposed penalties total $137,250.
"There is no excuse for the lack of attention to accumulation of combustible dusts in any mill or grain elevator, especially given our nation's history of such horrific combustible dust explosions resulting in a high number of employee fatalities," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all their employees to prevent accidents from occurring."
OSHA's inspection of the Endres facility resulted in three alleged willful and four alleged serious violations. The willful violations address the inappropriate location of an air material separator that lacked explosion venting; an inadequate housekeeping program; and allowing combustible dusts to collect at depths greater than one-eighth of an inch. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to, or intentional disregard for, employee safety and health.
The serious violations stem from the company's failure to have an adequate number of exit routes; the lack of a written emergency action plan; an improperly rated powered industrial truck being operated in a hazardous atmosphere; and preventative maintenance records not being maintained. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.
The company is engaged in recycling inedible food products by milling them into feed for pigs and chickens.
Endres Processing has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Wichita, Kan., or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.