Fines nearing $78,000 is what one Louisiana employer is looking at after a follow-up inspection for safety reasons.
The U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited U.S. Minerals LLC with 11 safety and health violations from a follow-up inspection that began in September 2013 at the Harvey facility.
The manufacturer of abrasive blasting and roofing materials faces $77,770 in fines for failing to train and protect workers when entering hazardous confined spaces, implement safe lockout/tagout procedures when maintaining equipment, provide required protection for workers exposed to dangerously high noise levels and ensure forklift operators knew how to work safely.
OSHA’s Baton Rouge Area Office conducted the initial inspection in June 2010 as a referral from OSHA’s National Office and issued 18 serious, 10 repeat and two other-than-serious violations. Fines totaled $118,800. The employer contested the citations, and a formal settlement agreement was reached on Aug. 20, 2012.
OSHA: Company Continues Jeopardizing Safety of Workers
“U.S. Minerals continues to jeopardize the safety and health of its workers by failing to fix these problems,” said Dorinda Folse, OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge. “OSHA’s safety and health standards exist to prevent injuries and fatalities. It is the employer’s responsibility to protect its workers by following the standards.”
Some of the serious violations include failing to provide an adequate retrieval system; training; evaluate prospective rescuer’s competency level; and annually review the confined space entry program.
For employees exposed to high noise levels, serious violations include failing to train workers on the hearing conservation program and ensure workers had a choice of suitable hearing protectors. The remaining serious violations include failing to provide adequate forklift training and certification, remove unsafe forklifts from service and ensure adequate egress from the facility. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
One repeat violation was issued for failing to conduct annual inspections of the company’s lockout-tagout procedures. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
U.S. Minerals LLC, with headquarters in Dyer, Ind., employs about 60 workers and operates other plants in Baldwin and Coffeen, Ill., and Galveston, Texas.
The company was provided with 15 working days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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