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Georgia Company Faces Fines for Dust Exposure, Explosion Hazards

A South Georgia company has been slapped with 46 work-safety violations for allegedly exposing employees to dangerous levels of combustible dust, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers understand the risk of serious or fatal injuries caused by fire or hazardous materials in the workplace. As we reported recently on our Georgia Workers Compensation Attorney Blog, hazardous material exposure in Georgia can come from any number of substances, including dust.
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“Combustible dust is a major safety and health hazard, and employers must recognize and correct hazards that expose their employees to death or serious physical harm,” said Robert Vazzi, OSHA’s area director in Savannah.

Protech Environmental South Inc, which does business as U.S. Erosion Control Products, Inc., faces a proposed penalty of $55,250 after the government’s 46 alleged safety and health hazards.

The investigation began at the company’s Willacoochee, Georgia site following a complaint in August. Inspectors report finding inadequate dust control, workers exposed to dust without respiratory protection, thick dust accumulation, and using unapproved equipment and forklifts in locations that may present a combustible hazard.

Fire extinguishers were also found to be not in place or missing from mounts.

The company is also accused of a number of serious citations, including exposing workers to fall hazards and electrical hazards, as well as permitting obstructed exit routes, hazardous use of propane gas, amputation hazards caused by missing machine guards, hazards from damaged forklifts, and hazards related to a lack of eye protection and a lack of a hearing conservation program.

A serious citation means there is substantial probability of death or serious physical harm and that the employer knew or should have know about the hazard.

OSHA instituted its combustible dust program in Oct. 2007. A massive sugar dust explosion at an Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia in Feb. 2008 killed 14 workers and injured others.

The Atlanta work accident lawyers at the Law Offices of J. Franklin Burns, P.C., offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights, call 678-298-0323.