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OSHA cites Texas company with 29 serious violations

Most United States workers, especially those who perform some of the more dangerous jobs, depend on the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to keep them safe while on the job. This is because OSHA's purpose is to mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths by developing and enforcing standards for workplace safety and health.

When there is an accident in a workplace or if there is a complaint filed about a suspected unsafe working environment, OSHA investigators are called in to determine if the work site is up to code or if unnecessary workplace hazards exist. If the investigation reveals that the employer violated safety or health regulations, the employer could face citations and serious fines.

Recently, OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office announced that following a Dec. 27, 2010, safety and health inspection, Hobbs Bonded Fiber Inc. was cited with 29 serious violations which amounted to $161,100 in proposed penalties. OSHA kicked off the investigation after receiving a complaint that the company's facility on Commerce Drive in Waco, Texas, was not safe.

"This company exposed its employees to avoidable workplace hazards," said OSHA's area director in Fort Worth. "OSHA's safety standards must be followed to prevent injuries, accidents and fatalities."

Under OSHA standards, a serious violation means that there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The company was cited for a variety of "serious" safety violations including:

  • failing to create and implement a respiratory program;
  • failing to offer training for employees entering confined spaces where an oxygen deficiency may exist;
  • failing to create a plan to reduce employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens;
  • failing to provide an area for employees to wash their eyes in the case of exposure;
  • failing to make sure that compressed oxygen and acetylene gas cylinders were stored separately;
  • failing to provide hazard communication training to employees working with hazardous and toxic chemicals; and
  • failing to adequately guard rotating belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets from pinch points and at the point of operation.

If you believe that the company you work for is unsafe or was partially responsible for causing an injury you suffered, contact an expert for advice on what to do next.

Source: Region 6 News Release, "US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Waco, Texas, manufacturing company with 29 serious workplace violations," Elizabeth Todd Juan Rodriguez, 6/24/2011.

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