Aluminum Plant Safety Blog – Incident involving aluminum dust/fines causes explosion and fire

The Aluminum Plant Safety Blog previously posted an incident involving aluminium dust/fine explosion and fire (listed here) at a Midwest United States facility. The explosion and the resulting fire injured two workers. This post updates the original post:
The company has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 safety and health violation following an April 2013 dust collector explosion and ensuing fire at the sheet metal production facility. Two workers were injured, one of whom suffered face, arm and hand burns. OSHA has proposed fines of over $50,000 USD.

“Manufacturing companies using materials that cause combustible dust particles-hazards that are unique to their industry-must take precautions to avoid potential explosions and injuries,” said OSHA’s area director. “Employers must be aware of hazards at their work sites and take preventive measures”.

One repeat violation was cited for failing to control hazardous energy. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2011 at this facility.

Among the 10 serious violations, one involved OSHA’s general duty clause and failing to control hazards from aluminum dust. The other violations include

 a lack of machine guarding,
 respiratory protection,
 fall protection,
 hazard communication programs,
 inadequate or missing signage,
 improperly maintained fire extinguishers,
 lack of a confined space program
 violations of safe electrical work practices.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which employer knew or should have known exists.

The company has previously been cited for 11 violations during seven OSHA inspections. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request and informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The APSB has posted incidents which include at least one or more of the above mentioned violations. Any one of those violations could result in an injury or death of a worker.

The APSB sincerely hopes that the injured workers recovery fully.