The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two separate wood product companies in Superior, Colo., for exposing workers to a variety of safety and health hazards. Eureka Pellet Mill's proposed fines total $58,500, and Mountain West Products LLC's proposed fines total $42,500.

"The workers were not protected from a potential dust explosion hazard that can happen when dust accumulates and safety regulations are ignored," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate these types of hazards from the workplace."

OSHA cited the Eureka Pellet Mill with 21 alleged serious safety citations including failing to ensure that moving parts on equipment were adequately guarded, exposing workers to fall hazards, improper electrical wiring, poor housekeeping and blocked emergency doors. Health citations are for exposing workers to combustible dust, failing to implement a respiratory protection program and failing to clean airborne contaminants in a way that doesn't release them into the atmosphere to create an explosive hazard. A serious citation is issued 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.

Mountain West Products LLC was cited for two alleged repeat violations including exposing workers to a fall hazard and failing to ensure that moving parts on equipment were adequately guarded. A repeat violation is issued when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in a federal enforcement state within the last five years.

Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of all OSHA citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area office director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.