SAVANNAH, GA – An independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission is scheduled to begin consideration of Imperial Sugar’s appeal of 212 safety citations and $8.8 million in fines on May 18.

The citations and proposed fines were doled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration out after the Feb. 7, 2008, sugar dust explosion that killed 14 people and injured dozens of others at the company’s Port Wentworth, GA, plant.

According to the Savannah Morning News, 124 of the violations and $5.1 million of the proposed fines are related to the Port Wentworth, GA. In addition, a subsequent inspection of Imperial Sugar’s plant in Gramercy, LA, led to an additional 97 violations and $3.7 million in proposed fines. OSHA said the conditions of the Gramercy facility created an “imminent danger.”

The paper quoted OSHA spokesman Michael Wald, who said the federal safety agency has not ruled out seeking criminal charges against the company, its officials or both.

The paper said part of Imperial Sugar’s defense has involved questioning the training and experience of OSHA inspectors to properly identify combustible dust violations.

Read the Savanah Morning News full report.

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