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Manufacturer faces over $286,000 in penalties

A Texas-based cement manufacturer is facing penalties of $286,200 for 35 safety and health violations. The action arose after an employee sustained a serious workplace injury involving an unguarded power tool.

According to the area director for OSHA in its Houston South Area Office, the employer exposed its workers needlessly to hazards that jeopardized their safety. The violations included 22 categorized as serious and four repeat violations. The serious violations account for $122,300 of the proposed penalty. Serious violations are deemed as such when there is a substantial probability that a fatality or serious physical injury can result from a known hazard. They include failing to indicate the identify of the individual who applied a lockout/tagout device, failing to keep hand tools in safe working condition, failing to maintain personal protective equipment in a reliable manner and failing to maintain or replace air filters as required by the manufacturer.

The repeat violations account for $154,000 of the proposed penalty. These violations include failing to conduct inspections of lockout/tagout procedures and failing to guard machines as they were being operated. An affiliated facility in Springfield, Ohio received similar violations previously. OSHA has put the company on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program because of the repeat violations and the seriousness of the hazards. This program requires inspections to ensure that the company is complying with safety regulations. The company has 15 business days to agree to the penalties, request a conference with the area director or contest the violations before OSHA's Review Commission.

Although a workers' compensation proceeding does not require the showing that an employer was negligent, this information can still help an injured worker receive the compensation to which he or she is entitled. A workers' compensation lawyer may be able to help an injured worker complete the process to receive this compensation.

Source: You Houston News, "OSHA cites Texas-based cement mixer manufacturer for 35 workplace safety and health violations", June 03, 2014

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