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Salko Kitchens Inc. is facing $51,800 in fines for exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards and a potential occupational carcinogen due to deficient required safeguards at its New Windsor, NY, plant, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“These workers face both immediate and long-term health and safety hazards from on-site conditions,” said Kimberly Castillon, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “The combustible dust can ignite and explode in seconds, and the methylene chloride is cancerous. For the health and well-being of its employees, it’s imperative that this employer correct these hazards and take effective steps to prevent them from happening again.”

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OSHA cited the New Windsor plant that manufactures cabinetry and countertops for 13 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards following a December inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office. A serious violation occurs 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 agency found combustible dust accumulated on plant pipes, equipment, supports and ductwork, and an inadequate system did not collect and remove the dust safely. In addition, while spraying adhesives on countertops and molding during the manufacturing process, employees suffered overexposure to the hazardous chemical methylene chloride. Overexposure to methylene chloride may result in mental confusion, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and eye and respiratory tract irritation. Long-term exposure may cause cancer and damage to the central nervous system.

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OSHA’s inspection determined feasible administrative and engineering controls were not in place to reduce methylene chloride exposure levels. Workers lacked adequate respiratory protection, protective gloves, eye protection, training, and medical evaluations and information on methylene chloride. In addition, employees had potential exposure to electric shock from exposed wiring and crushing injuries from powered industrial trucks driven by untrained operators.

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