Metal Dust OSHA Fine

Heritage-WTI is not a Thermal Spray facility, but three of my Thermal Spray Customers have had metal fires and explosions from metal dust combustion, just like at Heritage.

OSHA levies $126K fine on



Heritage-WTI Inc., a hazardous-waste treatment and disposal facility in East Liverpool, has been fined $126,000 for 11 health violations.

The violations were announced Tuesday and included a willful violation of “failing to review and annually certify operating procedures for the process safety management of hazardous chemicals,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor’ s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA initially came to the facility in December 2011 after a worker was killed by “metal dust deflagration” [combustion] that occurred when he was manually separating the contents of 55-gallon drums containing metal wastes and residue. There was a second OSHA review in February.

“Employers must provide safe working conditions, especially for employees who work with highly hazardous chemicals,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “These citations basically mean that Heritage-WTI failed to create safety procedures and then review those procedures to ensure their effectiveness.”

The other safety violations classified by OSHA as serious included failing to conduct a process hazard analysis on the kiln, providing documentation that proves the kiln complies with recognized good engineering practices, addressing problems found in process hazard analyses and correcting deficiencies in the kiln’s written operating procedures.

Additional serious violations include failing to provide processes or procedures to ensure that spare parts and equipment are suitable for their intended applications, reviewing incident reports with workers whose job tasks are relevant to the findings, conducting a compliance audit at least every three years and responding to deficiencies found in compliance audits.

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, according to OSHA.

Heritage-WTI has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

source of the above article:

OSHA has your number, and they might be coming to visit you, very soon. They want to know how much metal dust your employees are being exposed to.

  • Are you generating any metal dust into the air?
  • Are you OSHA complient?
  • How would you feel if one of your employees was killed in a metal dust explosion
  • Could you afford a $126,000 OSHA fine? 

OSHA will show up if there is an industrial accident, and you can not stop them!

Did you know OSHA will also show up (unannounced) when someone calls with a complaint. You might be able to slow them down, but you can not stop them.

 Who can call in a complaint?

  • A disgruntled employee
  • An unhappy neighbor who does not like the dirt on his car
  • An formar employee you may have laid off

You can write in your own scenario. You know you are one phone call away from a big fine and having your business shut down until you comply with their requirements.

So when they show up, what are your options?

  • Option 1, be cooperative and let them in. It is my understanding that their standard procedure is to walk with the company representative to the disputed area to investigate the specific complaint. Along the way, if they observe any OSHA violation, they can site you for it. You are really at the mercy of the person from OSHA! If you piss them off don’t you think they will want to look closer?
  • Option 2  Ask them to come back another day, do you think they might look a little closer because they had to come back?Are you ready for an OSHA audit of your thermal spray facility when they walk through your front door?
  • Option 3. Tell them to leave immediately and not come back. (this is stupid, they will be back)
  • Option 4. Try to bribe them. (#3 above is a better plan, you can go to jail for this one)

The best option is #1 above. They really do not want to put you out of business. If you have made a major effort in complying with OSHA requirements and you exhibit a friendly, cooperative attitude with them, they will work with you. But before they go walking through your shop, you better be prepared.


Turn your OSHA audit preparation into a Process Improvement Opportunity.

Call Thermal Spray Depot and have us audit your thermal spray facility. For a fraction of the fine shown above, we will put together a comprehensive evaluation of how you are handling the metal dust generated in your thermal spray facility.

In addition to evaluating the metal dust, we will also review your thermal spray process and make recommendations on how you can improve the process and save money. In fact, we will show the return on your investment of commissioning us to complete the study.

Don’t treat the audit as a cost! Instead get a return on your investment for the audit by improving your process, and at the same time be prepared for OSHA!

Why use Thermal Spray Depot?

Go to this link and review Bob Mcdemus’s background:

Who We Are

Don’t spend money on prevention only, make it a profit improvement process instead. As a bonus, we will help you to develop a plan for OSHA compliance for thermal spray dust issues.

Our Offer

We will come to your facility to:

  • Review Review your current thermal spray process. We will stay on site as long as it takes to gather the information we need. your current thermal spray process. We will stay on site as long as it takes to gather the information we need.
  • We will go into specific detail for one part number that you currently have in production for the purpose of process improvement and cost reduction.
  • We will give specific process improvement steps and show the pay back on your investment of hiring us for the process review.
  • We will give specific engineering recommendations to become OSHA compliant with the metal spray dust generated by your process. Our recommendations will include calculations for proper sizing of plenums, hoods, ducts, and dust collectors. With our recommendations, you can shop for competitive prices on the equipment that you will require to be OSHA compliant.
  • The cost of our study is project specific; however, it will be a fraction of the $126,000 fine levied on Heritage in the above article.

We only work with one client per quarter, is this for you?

We are selective who we will work with. To see if you qualify for one of our studies; go to this link and fill out the application form.

  • an existing thermal spray facility with revenues in excess of $1.5 million
  • at least one repeat part that generates revenues of at least $150,000 per year
  • a commitment to make changes to improve safety
  • a drive to make changes to improve process and profitability
  • a location in the continental US

We are selective who we will work with. To see if you qualify for one of our studies; go to this link and fill out the application form.