DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Summary Of Major OSHA Citations - Week Ending April 15th

Summary of major OSHA citations announced during the week of April 8th.

The following are based on press releases from OSHA.

Bartlett Grain In Atchison, KS Cited For Grain Elevator Explosion ($406,000)
OSHA Cites Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. After Combustible Dust Explosion ($231,000)
OSHA Fines Alabama Farmers Cooperative For Combustible Dust Hazards ($192,00)
Knowlton Manufacturing Cited By OSHA After Worker's Arm Is Amputated ($111,000)

The following report includes the response from Bartlett Grain's president Bob Knief, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Bartlett Grain Co. L.P. faces five willful and eight serious safety violation citations from OSHA following an October 2011 grain elevator explosion in Atchison that killed six workers and left two others hospitalized.  The citations to Bartlett Grain carry $406,000 in proposed fines.

Bartlett Grain has responded in a statement from president Bob Knief in which he said, "While all of the citations are flawed, none of the citations even assert a relationship to the cause of the accident, and indeed the cause cannot be determined. Some of the citations alleged "willful" misconduct by Bartlett Grain. We adamantly disagree with OSHA's assertions, and we take extreme exception to the willful characterization. We certainly look forward to proving wrong OSHA's unfortunate citations and characterization."

The OSHA press release reports that the willful violations include allowing grain dust – which is nine times as explosive as coal dust – to accumulate, using compressed air to remove dust without first shutting down ignition sources, jogging (repeatedly starting and stopping) inside bucket elevators to free legs choked by grain, using electrical equipment inappropriate for the working environment and failing to require employees to use fall protection when working from heights.

In response, Mr. Knief stated, "OSHA asserts that there was a hazardous accumulation of dust prior to the accident, however the evidence is clear and incontrovertible that the grain and dust found by OSHA after the incident was deposited by the accident, and could not have been there prior to the accident. OSHA also takes issues with the format of our preventive maintenance records even though that exact format was the result of OSHA guidance directly to the Company in the year 2000."

The complete statement from Bob Knieg can be read in the Wall Street Journal (click here).

The OSHA press release continues by stating that the serious violations involve a lack of proper preventive maintenance, certification and lubrication of grain handling equipment; inadequate emergency action plan training for employees and contractors; a lack of employee and contractor training on job hazards; and a housekeeping program that was deficient because it did not prevent grain dust accumulations.

OSHA also reports that Topeka-based Kansas Grain Inspection Services Inc., a contractor employed by Bartlett Grain, is also being cited by OSHA for one willful violation involving a lack of fall protection for employees working on the top of rail cars; one serious violation, the lack of a hazard communication program; and one other-than-serious violation, not providing basic advisory information about respirators to employees. These violations carry total proposed penalties of $67,500.

OSHA reports that over the past 35 years, there have been more than 500 explosions in grain handling facilities across the United States that have killed more than 180 people and injured more than 675. Grain dust is the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling. This dust is highly combustible and can burn or explode if enough becomes airborne or accumulates on a surface and finds an ignition source (such as a hot bearing, overheated motor or misaligned conveyor belt, as well as heat or sparks from welding, cutting and brazing operations). OSHA standards require that both grain dust and ignition sources be controlled in grain elevators to prevent potentially deadly explosions. For more information on grain handling, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/grainhandling/index.html.

The OSHA citations to Bartlett Grain Co. L.P. and Kansas Grain Inspection Services Inc. can be viewed at
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Bartlett_issued_04122012.pdf* and
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/KGIS_issued_04122012.pdf*, respectively.

OSHA has cited Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. for six safety violations – including three willful – after two maintenance employees conducting welding operations sustained serious burns to their upper bodies as the result of an explosion within a dust collector at the company's Steeleville pasta manufacturing plant on Oct. 6, 2011. The proposed penalties total $231,000.

At the time of the incident, the two maintenance workers were repairing a hole in the side of a metal trough containing a screw conveyor that was leaking granulated sugar within several feet of an operational dust collector. The dust collector exploded due to a spark from the welding operations.

The three willful violations include failing to eliminate dust deflagration and explosion hazards on indoor dust collectors and air material separators, contain dust during the bagging of powdered sugar, shut down ducts and conveyor systems during welding operations (which had been responsible for carrying a spark to the nearby dust collector), and ensure that electrical equipment installed in areas exposed to combustible dust was approved and safe for those locations.

Three serious violations include failing to inspect areas where welding was to be performed, prohibit welding in the presence of explosive atmospheres and ensure the safe use of welding processes in the presence of combustible dust.

Due to the willful violations, OSHA has placed Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law

Prior to this inspection, the food manufacturer had been inspected by OSHA 30 times since 2002, resulting in citations for 46 violations, some involving combustible dust explosion, deflagration and other fire hazards cited at the company's Steeleville and Momence plants in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. is headquartered in Chester. The company employs more than 2,000 workers at 12 facilities located in Chester, Steeleville, Momence and Centralia, Ill.; Joplin, Jasper, Perryville and McBride, Mo., and Wilson, Ark.

The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GilserMaryLeeCorporation_107443_04062012.pdf*.

OSHA has cited Alabama Farmers Cooperative Inc. with 17 safety and health violations for exposing workers at its Decatur facility to combustible dust and other hazards. Proposed penalties total $191,700 following an October inspection initiated based on a complaint.

Two willful safety violations, with penalties of $126,000, include failing to establish a housekeeping program to reduce the accumulation of, and use approved electrical equipment in the presence of, combustible dust.

Thirteen serious safety and health violations, with penalties of $65,700, include failing to provide working interlocks on the personnel elevator to prevent the door from opening when the elevator was not present, cover the grain chute opening, provide guardrails on open-sided floors and platforms to prevent fall hazards, provide handrails on stairways, establish an audiometric testing program and guard various pieces of equipment. Additionally, workers were exposed to nuisance dust 1.6 times higher than the permissible exposure limit.

Two other-than-serious health violations with no monetary penalties involve failing to review and verify that OSHA 300 log entries were accurate and complete from 2008 to the present, and to provide the certified OSHA summary form from 2008 to the present.

The citations can be viewed at

Decatur-headquartered Alabama Farmers Cooperative Inc. provides a range of agricultural supplies and services to farmers in the state.

OSHA has cited Knowlton Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Cincinnati with 10 safety violations – including three willful and one repeat – after an employee's arm was amputated on Nov. 12, 2011, while the individual was performing maintenance on a mechanical power press that did not have its energy source properly secured.  Proposed penalties total $111,000.

The willful violations include operating power presses without point-of-operation guards, failing to isolate the energy sources of power presses and failing to affix locks to energy isolation devices prior to performing maintenance on mechanical power presses.

The repeat violation is failing to conduct periodic and regular inspections of the power presses. Similar violations were cited at the Cincinnati plant in July 2007.

Additionally, six serious violations involve failing to provide machine guarding on lathes and grinders, properly stamp dies with weight requirements, use safety blocks when making adjustments to dies in the presses and protect flexible cords from damage.

Due to the willful and repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Knowlton Manufacturing in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

The specialty parts manufacturer had been inspected by OSHA on three previous occasions since 2001, and received citations for violations relating to electrical hazards, general machine and power transmission guarding, power press guarding and the lockout/tagout of energy sources.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/knowlton_107657_0406_12.pdf*.

Related Past Posts:
OSHA Citations For The Week of April 1st
OSHA Citations For Week of March 26th
Summary of OSHA Citations For Week Of March 19th

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posted by Steve Hudgik
View This Post - (1 Comments)


Blogger Harrington Group, Inc. said...

This is just another reminder of the dangers of combustible dust. These events can be prevented. The CSB released a safety video earlier in the year, Iron in the Fire

8:09 AM  

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