OSHA cites silica fume processor following plant fatality

Sources: Occupational Safety and Health Administration; CP staff

OSHA has cited Globe Metallurgical Inc., a leading source of concrete-grade silica fume, with five safety violations following the death of an employee who fell 16 ft. off a fixed ladder while working in a feeder tunnel at the company’s two-furnace, Selma, Ala., silicon metal plant.

The agency’s Mobile Area Office responded with an October 2012 inspection, conducted concurrently with a follow-up to 2009 and 2010 inspections when staff cited the company for failing to ensure workers were protected from floor openings; electrode platform railings met minimal requirements; and, all electrical panels, boxes and fittings had closed knockouts. Last year’s inspection saw citations for the three repeat safety violations, plus two serious safety violations involving failure to ensure workers in a feeder tunnel were not exposed to an unguarded skip hoist, and exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards by allowing combustible dust accumulation on electrical panels, ledges and I-beams. OSHA proposes $106,000 in penalties for the repeat and serious violations.