Despite attempts by federal workplace safety officials to help rectify the company’s potential fire and explosion hazards, RWS Manufacturing’s wood-shaving plant in Queensbury, N.Y., caught fire Tuesday morning.
According to the TimesUnion, fire crews from three different communities responded to the fire early Tuesday morning. The plant was just warned two months ago by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that it was exposing employees to “potential fire and explosion hazards.”
OSHA visited the plant in July and uncovered six violations totaling nearly $50,000, and levied an additional $147,000 in fines because the company had failed to fix previous violations uncovered by the agency.
Back in 2013, the Queensbury plant was responsible for 28 violations and fined more than $233,000 for workplace safety violations all linked to various fire, fall and explosion risks. OSHA even went as far as to declare two of the violations “willful,” meaning that the company was seen as deliberately ignoring federal safety laws.
“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 in a July press release. “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.”