OSHA Cites Wood Shavings Plant For Fire Risk

An upstate New York producer of wood shavings faces nearly $200,000 in fines due to continued fire dangers.

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An upstate New York producer of wood shavings faces nearly $200,000 in fines due to continued fire dangers.

RWS Manufacturing, which produces shavings for animal bedding, was fined $233,870 in 2013 after an inspection of its Queensbury facility the previous year identified a slew of safety issues, including fire and explosion dangers and numerous injury risks.

A follow-up inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was conducted early this year after RWS failed to verify agreed-upon corrections to its dust collection system.

Inspectors instead found “new and recurring hazards,” including combustible dust and failure to maintain fire extinguishers.

OSHA officials noted that the problems remained despite a “significant fire” in the plant's production area late last year.

The agency levied six new citations against the company and proposed penalties totaling $197,820.

"For the safety and well-being of its employees RWS Manufacturing must take immediate, comprehensive and effective action to correct these hazards once and for all,” OSHA Albany area director Robert Garvey said in a statement.

Don Student, the plant’s general manager, told the Albany Times Union that the findings were "unwarranted" and "absolutely ludicrous."

The company, which is owned by Royal Wood Shavings of Quebec City, vowed to contest the findings and indicated that an unsuccessful appeal could force it to close.

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