SILVER CREEK, MS -- The Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration has cited a Mississippi lumber mill for a variety of violations, including for having an electrical junction box open in an area where combustible wood dust accumulates.

OSHA cited Joe N. Miles & Sons Inc. of Silver Creek with 19 willful and serious safety violations and associated proposed penalties totaling $67,800.

OSHA said the violations stem from an October 2010 inspection, part of its national emphasis program on combustible dust in the workplace.
 
OSHA issued a willful violation citation carrying a $44,000 penalty to Miles Lumber for allowing an electrical junction box to be left open in an area where combustible dust accumulates, exposing workers to fire and electrocution.

The company also was cited with 16 serious violations and a penalty of $23,800. The violations include a dangerous accumulation of combustible dust; unsafe exit routes; improper dispensing of flammable liquids; failing to inspect lockout/tagout procedures of energy sources; failing to recharge fire extinguishers; lack of signage prohibiting foot and vehicle traffic in the log unloading and storage area; handling corrosive chemicals without required eyewash and safety showers; using damaged hooks on hoists to lift loads; using damaged welding cables; failing to have guardrails on elevated walkways; and failing to provide machine guarding.

"Combustible dust is dangerous, but OSHA's standards provide safeguards that this employer needs to implement," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson.

Miles Lumber, founded in 1933, specializes in southern pine lumber. The company also operates a sawmill in Bogalusa, LA.

OSHA continues to move forward with plans to potentially promulgate a combustible dust standard that would likely include wood dust.

Read more about Miles Lumber's combustible dust citations.

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