On 6 October last year, two maintenance workers conducting welding operations sustained serious burns after a dust collector at the company’s Steeleville pasta plant exploded.
The workers were trying to repair a metal trough that was leaking granulated sugar within close proximity to a dust collector.
Risk of death or serious injury
OSHA cited Glister-Mary Lee for three wilful and three serious safety violations for the incident.
It said that the company had failed to remove dust deflagration on dust collectors before the welding operations with plain inference to employee safety and health.
The company was also found to have failed to inspect areas where welding was to be performed and failed to prohibit welding in the presence of combustible dust, which created risk of death or serious injury.
Karl Armstrong, director of OSHA's Fairview Heights Area Office: “Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. has a responsibility to protect workers conducting welding operations from known hazards in its manufacturing plants, including explosive dust."
“OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."
OSHA has placed Glister-Mary Lee on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections.
OSHA took the decision as the company had previously been cited for 46 violations since 2002.
Among Glister-Mary Lee’s previous breaches were violations involving combustible dust explosion at the company’s Steelville and Momence plants.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings.