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Region 1 News Release: 12-760-BOS/BOS 2012-067
April 27, 2012
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2075
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites New England Wood Pellet, proposes
$147,000 in fines for workplace hazards following October 2011 fire
Jaffrey, NH, company cited for similar hazards in 2008

CONCORD, N.H. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited New England Wood Pellet LLC for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its wood pellet manufacturing plant on Old Sharon Road in Jaffrey. The agency has proposed a total of $147,000 in fines for fire and explosion hazards in the aftermath of an Oct. 20, 2011, fire at the plant.

The fire, which started in the pellet mill, was transported through several conveying systems to a pellet cooler and then to a dust collector, and caused several other flash fires. Shortly thereafter, explosions occurred in the dust collector and an exhaust muffler. The explosions sent fireballs outside of the building and likely ignited materials in two silos.

An inspection by OSHA's Concord Area Office found numerous fire and explosion hazards stemming from the absence of protective devices in the transport system, dust collection duct and conveyor systems that would prevent sparks, embers and fires from spreading throughout the system, as well as a lack of effective explosion protection due to the construction and/or location of dust collection ducts. The hazards were exacerbated by a buildup of combustible wood dust on surfaces throughout the plant and from the use of unsafe equipment to vacuum combustible dust.

"While it is fortunate that no one was killed in this conflagration, there is no excuse for the employer's failu