Imperial Sugar closes part of refinery due to dust

by Staff
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SUGAR LAND, TEXAS — Imperial Sugar Co. has closed down the section of its Gramercy, La., facility that handles powdered sugar operations after inspectors with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found potentially combustible dust. The announcement comes a little more than a month after an explosion at Imperial Sugar’s Port Wentworth, Ga., plant killed 13 workers.

"There was a very thick dust level," Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said of the Gramercy facility. The dust, he said, caused an "imminent danger situation."

Mr. Foulke said Imperial Sugar agreed to withdraw its employees and deactivate the equipment for dust removal and cleanup, a procedure that was expected to take several days.

Earlier this month, OSHA said it would intensify its enforcement, education and outreach programs to ensure that employers and workers are taking the necessary steps to protect against combustible dust.

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