Big Safety Fines for Pet Food Maker

Monday, May 19, 2014 @ 02:05 PM gHale

All-Feed Processing and Packaging Inc. is facing $254,000 in fines for willful and repeat violations for exposing workers to combustible and respiratory dust hazards at its Galva, IL, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In addition to creating an explosion hazard, the plant’s high concentration of airborne dust could cause workplace-induced asthma and other illnesses. The company received citations for willful electrical and equipment violations for failing to provide approved equipment for working near combustible dust.

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OSHA initiated an inspection for the pet food manufacturer in November after a complaint and found one repeat and five willful violations. The company is in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“All-Feed Processing and Packaging continues to demonstrate a complete disregard for the health and safety of its workers by failing to protect them from combustible dust hazards. These can ignite quickly-without warning-and can cause catastrophic damage,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria. “The employees at All-Feed deserve an employer that cares about their safety, and this company keeps failing to provide that.”

Because of the most recent inspection, OSHA cited the company for five willful violations involving exposing workers to combustible pea flour dust by failing to install a dust collection system with explosion protection. Any combustible material can burn rapidly when in a finely divided form. If such a dust ends up suspended in the air in the right concentration, under certain conditions, it can become explosive.

OSHA also found electrical equipment and forklifts used by the company did not have approval or use in combustible-dust atmospheres. Arcs and sparks from forklifts had the potential to ignite the dust, causing an explosion hazard.

The force from such an explosion can cause employee deaths, injuries and building destruction.

All-Feed received citations for exposing workers to airborne concentrations of dust by failing to implement engineering controls and mandating respiratory protection use to prevent dust particle inhalation and struck by hazards, all willful violations.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

One repeat violation was for failing to establish an audiometric testing program for all workers whose noise exposure exceeded an eight-hour time weighted average of 85 decibels. OSHA issues repeat violations when a company faced previous citations for the same or a similar violation within the last five years. OSHA cited All-Feed for 23 safety and health violations in November 2011, including willful violations of OSHA’s air contaminant, respiratory protection and hearing conservation standards.

OSHA has inspected All-Feed 14 times since 2000, resulting in more than 70 violations.

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