Federal officials proposed more than $8.7 million in fines against Imperial Sugar Co., the third-highest fine total in the history of OSHA.
The agency fined Imperial Sugar $5 million for violations at its plant near Savannah, where 13 workers were killed in an explosion this spring, and another $3.7 million for violations at its Gramercy, La., plant.
OSHA investigators believe employees in one of the silos at the Georgia plant were using metal rods and hammers to break up hardened sugar. A spark ignited the sugar like gunpowder in the basement underneath the refinery’s silos, shooting dust into other areas, where further explosions followed.
Graham H. Graham, Imperial Sugar’s vice president for operations, said he witnessed “dangerous dust conditions” at the plant before the explosion.
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