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OSHA issues the 3rd Largest Fine in History

$8,777,500 fine! Who would believe that? But you better as that’s the exact figure OSHA has fined Imperial Sugar Co. and its two affiliate companies. Now, with that huge number, OSHA has issued, it now holds the third largest in US history.

This all started after the 2008 February blast in the Port Wentworth, Georgia plant. The explosion has resulted in the deaths of about 13 employees and 40 others seriously hospitalized. When OSHA initiated an inspection, numerous safety violations were found mostly that deal with sugar dust in the air, electrical machinery as well as other equipment.

The cause of the huge explosion is believed to be from the ignition of sugar dust in the air when an employee used a hammer and a metal rod to break up sugar.

The organization may take the fine to be too big but OSHA has commented that the fine were mainly due to the fact that the organizations were not taking the incident too seriously. In spite of the accident already occurring and of the officials of the company well aware of the dangers which were still there, they were doing little to stop another similar explosion and problem from happening again. The second plant of Imperial Sugars in Gramercy, Georgia was also in impending danger to have the same kind of explosion. There were around 120 safety violations found between the two plants.

Though it may seem hard to believe but sugar dust is an extremely flammable substance. The accident in the plant has resulted in the passing of a new bill where stricter measures are issued regarding dust hazards by OSHA.