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Corn Flour Mill Cited for Explosion, Electric Shock Hazards

January 28, 2015

The accumulation of combustible grain dust requires more than just wiping surfaces to eliminate them. Grain dust accumulation, in the right combination of particle size, air and an ignition source, can expose workers to possible explosions or combustible dust hazards, according to citations issued to Minsa Corp. by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA cited the employer for 33 serious violations, including exposing workers to electric shock, with a proposed penalty totaling $151,200.

"Dust accumulation exists in many industries including flour, feed, grain and sugar, requiring these employers to implement a standard housekeeping policy," said Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA's area director in Lubbock. "It is the employer's responsibility to find and fix hazards that could harm workers."

Internal parts of electrical equipment were contaminated with foreign materials, unused openings in a breaker box were not properly closed and an uncovered junction box exposed workers to live electrical parts. These are just a few of the serious electrical violations. Additional serious violations include workers being exposed to dangerous machinery, blocked emergency exit routes and falls from a platform lacking a guardrail. A serious violation occurs 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.

Minsa, which employs 75 workers at the Muleshoe, TX location, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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