Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Over the past year, Dust In Case has taken a deeper look at several notable OSHA fines handed down to facilities due to combustible dust hazards, but a new citation for one San Antonio kitchen cabinet manufacturer may be one of the priciest incidents in recent memory. According to OSHA’s website, Cardell Cabinetry LLC was levied with 29 safety and health violations by the U.S. Department of Labor watchdogs, adding up to a whopping six-figure penalty of $267,434.

Why such a hefty fine? Part of it stems from a previous warning issued to Cardell by OSHA back in 2012 when combustible wood dust was found around the facility’s parts mill area. Cardell had agreed to comply with the warning, but OSHA’s findings upon return inspection still found the same issues of wood dust covering the work space’s walls, steal beams, rafters and around uncovered fittings, junction boxes and pull boxes. This poses the risk of an ignition source, possibly results in an explosion and thus, needlessly places employees in a dangerous environment.

Of the fines, San Antonio area OSHA director Kelly C. Knighton said, “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.” It’s a clear cut example of reprimanding negligence to the fullest and sends a bold message to all industries working with combustible dust and materials that the only recourse to avoiding any penalties is through regular housekeeping, proper training and using the right explosion proof vacuum. No ifs, and or buts.