Cardell Cabinetry LLC has been cited with 29 safety and health violations and a proposed penalty of $267,434 for failing to remove hazardous levels of combustible dust at the company's facility on North Panam Expressway in San Antonio.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's San Antonio Area Office initiated the February inspection as both a follow-up and complaint inspection.
Combustible dusts include fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that, under certain conditions, can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air.
Types of dusts include metal—for example, aluminum and magnesium— wood, plastic, rubber, coal, flour, sugar and paper.
Officials said the three repeat violations, with a penalty of $99,000, were cited for failing to remove combustible wood dust, cover electrical boxes and reduce the pressure of compressed air.
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously 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. Authorities said similar violations were cited in 2012.
A failure-to-abate violation, with a penalty of $34,034, was cited because authorities said the employer failed to remove combustible wood dust from the parts mill area. The same violation was cited in 2012.
Some of the 24 safety and health violations, with a penalty of $134,400, were cited for failing to provide adequate guarding on machinery; ensure electrical knockouts were covered; provide required personal protective equipment; administer audiometric exams to affected workers; lockout or tagout energy sources; ensure loads were secured and stable to prevent shifting; and provide an effective hearing conservation program, authorities said.
Officials said the one other-than-serious health violation, with no monetary penalty, is for failing to annually fit test workers required to wear respirators.
"The sizable penalties proposed here reflect the severity of the various hazardous conditions found at this facility, including the accumulation of combustible dust that can lead to a needless catastrophic incident," said Kelly C. Knighton, director of OSHA's San Antonio Area Office. "The fact that such an incident has not occurred does not absolve Cardell Cabinetry of its responsibility to find and eliminate hazards that could endanger workers' lives."