The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations for 33 serious violations to Lubbock, Texas-based Minsa Corp., along with a proposed fine of up to $151,200.
At issue at the plant, located in Muleshoe, Texas, was the dangerous accumulation of combustible grain dust. Under the right circumstances, grain dust can be a significant ignition source, and OSHA requires all employers to implement an effective housekeeping policy. An effective policy requires more than lightly dusting once in a while. It requires near elimination on a regular basis and buildup prevention.
In addition to the citations for problems with grain dust buildup, OSHA inspectors also found that the internal parts of some of the plant’s electrical equipment had been contaminated with foreign materials; that openings in a breaker box that were not being used had not been properly closed and that a junction box had been left uncovered as well. All of these problems exposed workers to live electrical parts and created significant electrocution hazards.
That wasn’t all. In addition to those hazards, OSHA also cited the company for exposing workers to dangerous machinery that was unguarded, for not clearing access to emergency exit routes and for fall hazards based on the fact that a high platform lacked a guardrail.