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Auto Coater Cited for Dust Hazards

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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An Ohio automotive coating company faces $62,300 in penalties for allegedly exposing workers to combustible dust and amputation hazards, federal officials say.

Hurst Auto-Truck Electric Inc. in Cleveland was cited for 15 serious health and safety violations after a complaint triggered an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection.

The plant specializes in chrome plating and powder-coating finished accessories for the automotive industry.

Dangers of Dust

Inspectors found workers exposed to combustible aluminum and steel dust, which can become explosive if suspended in the air under the right concentration and under certain condition.

According to OSHA, the force from such an explosion can cause death, injury and destruction of buildings.

Hurst Auto-Truck Electric
© / kadmy

Hurst Auto-Truck Electric (not pictured), a chrome plating and powder coating plant for the automotive industry, faces 15 serious health and safety violations related to combustible dust and other hazards, according to OSHA.

The company did not immediately return a request for comment Monday (Oct. 20).

Between 1980 and 2005, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board identified 281 combustible-dust incidents that led to 119 fatalities, 718 injuries, and extensive damage to numerous industrial facilities.

"Combustible dust can burn rapidly and explode with little warning, putting workers at risk for severe injury and death," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland.

"OSHA's inspection found that Hurst Auto-Truck failed to maintain areas free of combustible dust and used ignition in areas where combustible dust was present. When the stakes are so high, employers must recognize and eliminate these hazards."

The Violations

The serious violations allege failure to, among other things:

  • Implement specific lockout/tagout programs;
  • Guard machinery;
  • Administer a hearing conservation program;
  • Conduct workplace hazard assessments;
  • Ensure personal protective equipment was used;
  • Provide portable fire extinguisher training;
  • Provide information and training on hazardous chemicals used in the plant; and
  • Keep exit routes unobstructed and clearly labeled.
OSHA lockout/tagout

OSHA also cited the company for not having a lockout/tagout program, guarding machinery, or ensuring the use of personal protective equipment.

Serious violations are those that carry "substantial probability" of death or serious injury from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

The company has 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings.


Tagged categories: Automotive coatings; Combustible Dust; Health & Safety; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; Powder Coatings

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