Furniture and prop fabricator cited by OSHA for combustible dust

RAHWAY, N.J. - The Spoon Group, which does business as Prop N Spoon, a fabricator of furnishings and displays for events and retailers, was cited by OSHA - the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration - for exposure of its workers to dust and chemicals, among other issues, at its Rahway, New Jersey, warehouse.

At a safety inspection by OSHA on May 5, 2016, an OSHA compliance officer observed and reported combustible dust hazards, and a lack of safety guards on machines. Prop N Spoon now faces a $47,000 penalty for 20 workplace hazards listed in the citation, which was issued July 29.

OSHA says it initiated a health inspection on Feb. 25, 2016, after a complaint alleged the The Spoon Group was exposing  workers to chemical hazards, but not providing a respiratory protection program. The inspection was conducted as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program for Combustible Dust. OSHA most recently updated its directive on this program in October 2015,  to increase its enforcement activities and  "to focus on specific industry groups that have experienced either frequent combustible dust incidents or combustible dust incidents with catastrophic consequences," including the wood manufacturing industries.

Issues that OSHA listed were obstructed exit routes; failure to develop hazard communication and respiratory protection programs, including medical evaluations for employees required to use respirators.

  •     Not training employees who handle chemicals as required and failure to provide safety data sheets for chemicals.
  •     Unguarded machinery.
  •     Spray booth operations
  •     Combustible dust related to electrical and explosion hazards

"If not addressed immediately, the hazards cited at Prop N Spoon's warehouse will continue to pose serious safety and health dangers to employees. This is especially true for workers handling chemicals and working in areas with combustible dust," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's Avenel Area Office.
The citations are posted at OSHA's website: and


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Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.