Kitchen-cabinet maker San Antonio, TX-based Cardell Cabinetry LLC is facing fines of $267,434 for 29 health and safety violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Cardell, which employs more than 1,100 workers, failed to remove hazardous levels of combustible dust at its manufacturing plant on 3215 N. Pan Am Expressway, putting workers at risk, OSHA officials said.

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The violations stemmed from a February inspection of the plant, initiated as a follow-up and a complaint investigation, officials added.

Combustible dust includes fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that, under certain conditions, can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air. Types of dust include metal like aluminum and magnesium; wood; plastic; rubber; coal; flour; sugar, and paper.

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The three repeat violations, with a penalty of $99,000, were for failing to remove combustible wood dust, cover electrical boxes and reduce the pressure of compressed air. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. They faced similar violations in 2012.

A failure-to-abate violation, with a penalty of $34,034, was because the employer failed to remove combustible wood dust from the parts mill area. The company faced the same violation in 2012. A failure-to-abate notice applies to a condition, hazard or practice that, found upon re-inspection at the employer site, was the same and not corrected.

Some of the 24 serious safety and health violations, with a penalty of $134,400, were for failing to provide adequate guarding on machinery; ensure electrical knockouts were covered; provide required personal protective equipment; administer audiometric exams to affected workers; lockout or tagout energy sources; ensure loads were secured and stable to prevent shifting; and provide an effective hearing conservation program. A serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The one other-than-serious health violation, with no monetary penalty, is for failing to annually fit test workers required to wear respirators. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

“The sizable penalties proposed here reflect the severity of the various hazardous conditions found at this facility, including the accumulation of combustible dust that can lead to a needless catastrophic incident,” said Kelly C. Knighton, director of OSHA’s San Antonio area office.

Cardell officials were not immediately available for comment.

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