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A Queensbury, NY, manufacturer is facing $197,820 in fines for exposing employees to uncorrected explosion hazards, as well as recurring fire and fall hazards, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA opened a follow-up investigation Jan. 13 after RWS Manufacturing Inc. failed to verify it corrected violations cited during a previous OSHA inspection.

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As the result of the follow-up inspection, OSHA has issued RWS Manufacturing citations for failure to abate previously cited violations, two repeat violations, and three serious violations.

In the most recent inspection, OSHA inspectors found the company failed to address combustible dust hazards involving the dust collection system it had agreed to correct.

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Inspectors also identified new and recurring hazards stemming from RWS Manufacturing’s failure to:
• Address combustible dust related fire and explosion hazards for conveyor equipment and an inoperable spark detection/fire suppression system
• Inspect fire extinguishers annually, and maintain them in fully charged and operable condition
• Remove accumulations of combustible wood dust and shavings on rafters and other surfaces
• Remove piles of wood dust and shavings on floors that create fire, slip, trip, and fall hazards

“RWS Manufacturing has disregarded its employees’ safety in failing to correct an obvious fire and explosion hazard and in allowing the existence of new and recurring hazards,” said Robert Garvey, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “Especially disturbing is the fact that, since OSHA’s last inspection, a significant fire occurred in the plant’s production area in December 2015. 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.”

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