Risks for Work Accidents in Anderson and Elsewhere Likely if Combustible Dusts Accumulate

AGrowStar LLC has recently been cited for more than 20 safety and health violations. After an investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it was concluded that the Georgia-based company was exposing employees to dangers regarding combustible dust accumulations and other safety issues. These violations came with fines totaling nearly $75,000. In case you didn’t know, Georgia is a part of OSHA’s Region 4, which also includes both North and South Carolina.

It’s important for employees to understand that employers are required to provide safe working conditions for all employees to help to reduce the risks of work-related accidents in Anderson and elsewhere. This is especially crucial for people who work in industrial plants and other such environments, but it does not pertain strictly to them. Combustible dust explosions can happen in a variety of workplaces, more than you may think, and can injure a lot of employees. Is your employer doing their job to keep you safe from these kinds of accidents?
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“Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees have a safe and healthy work environment,” said Bill Fulcher, regional director of OSHA.

Our South Carolina workers compensation attorneys understand that there are a number of combustible materials that can burn rapidly when they’re in a finely divided form. If these dusts are lurking in the air at just the right concentration, results can be explosive — literally! The force from these kinds of explosions can cause some serious injuries, death and even the destruction of entire buildings.

Combustible dust explosion hazards may exist in a variety of industries:

-Fossil fuel power generation.

-Metals.

-Dyes.

-Pharmaceuticals.

-Pesticides.

-Textiles.

-Furniture.

-Rubber.

-Pulp.

-Paper.

-Wood.

-Plastics.

-Tobacco.

-Grain.

-Food.

AGrowStar LLC was handed 20 serious violations for allowing combustible dusts to accumulate in the workplace and for not creating and following proper lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources. The company was also cited for:
-Failing to develop housekeeping programs
-Failing to properly train its drivers
-Failing to train individuals who work with dangerous materials
-Failing to create an emergency action plan
-Failing to secure a permit prior to entering various confined spaces
-Failing to conduct atmospheric testing
-Failing to properly and accurately list chemicals in the hazard communication program

What materials can form combustible dusts? Biosolids, paper, dried blood, plastics, soap, sugar, metal, coal and woods can all form dangerous combustible dust. In many work-related accidents, employees didn’t even know that the hazards of combustible dusts were present. And that’s where OSHA comes in to help raise awareness about on-the-job dangers.

As a matter of fact, explosions and fires from combustible dusts have long been acknowledged as major industrial hazards. According to 2006 statistics from the Chemical Safety Hazard Investigation Board there were nearly 300 dust fires and explosions in U.S. industrial facilities over the previous 25 years. These incidents resulted in nearly 120 fatalities and more than 700 injuries.

Our lawyers at Lee & Smith serve clients in workers’ compensation cases in South and North Carolina. To schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your workers’ compensation case, please call 1-800-887-1965.

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