Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

In the past, Dust In Case has covered stories on some of OSHA’s largest combustible dust fines across many industries, but in other cases, even the smaller ones can add up to a huge nuisance of a financial hit. Take Hunter Panels, LLC, a roofing insulation panel maker headquartered in Portland, ME that has other facilities located across the country as far out as Florida, Texas and Utah. They’re now being faced with the prospect of having to pay $123,000 for a wide variety of OSHA violations ranging from workplace environment deficiencies to not having a safety management program in place.

Part of the hefty six-figure fine proposal is a $5,000 violation labeled as “Serious” over combustible dust. According to the official OSHA citation, Hunter Panels’ “structural supports, pipes, duct work, roofing and equipment were not kept free of hazardous accumulation of explosive combustible dust.” While just a fraction of OSHA’s proposed levy and perhaps a small chunk of change to a large business, it will always be $5,000 that could have easily been avoiding if the manufacturer had heeded OSHA’s combustible dust safety standards, sought out proper dust control equipment in a certified explosion proof vacuum cleaner or immersion separator and spent the time implementing a plan to remove it from their space.

The takeaway here is that all combustible dust hazards should be taken seriously, and even the slightest infractions can set off further OSHA scrutiny across your facility that may collectively yield a large fine.