Wood pallet and packaging firm cited for ComDustOPELIKA, AL -- Intercontinental Packaging Inc. was cited for 24 safety violations, including exposing workers to hazards associated with combustible dust, by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Proposed penalties total $54,880.

The citations and fines stem from an OSHA inspection in May as part of its national emphasis programs on combustible dust and amputations, and a regional emphasis program on powered industrial trucks.

OSHA issued 12 serious violations against Intercontinental Packaging including improper housekeeping for allowing up to 36 inches of combustible wood dust to accumulate; having improper electrical classification in the area of dust buildup; failing to provide standard guardrails on a platform; not training employees on the use and care of personal fall equipment; failing to train workers on the use of powered industrial trucks; not maintaining forklifts properly by having seat belts installed; exposing employees to machine guarding hazards; failing to have a written hazard communication program addressing chemical hazards; not having a strain relief for flexible cords and cables; and deficiencies associated with lockout/tagout procedures intended to prevent equipment from starting up unexpectedly.

"This inspection found a variety of serious hazards, including accumulations of combustible wood dust, along with potential ignition sources, which expose employees to the risk of fire and explosions. Employers must take the necessary precautions when conducting operations that produce combustible dusts to prevent catastrophe," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's area director in Mobile, AL.

Intercontinental manufactures corrugated cardboard boxes and wooden pallets.

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