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Texas concrete recycling facility fined by OSHA

Industrial accidents are common in Texas and cause many unnecessary injuries and deaths each year. In effort to prevent dangerous conditions in factories and other industries, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration was put in charge of setting and enforcing workplace safety standards.

When companies are found in violation of these safety standards, they can be cited and fined by OSHA. Last week, it was reported that a Texas concrete recycling facility was cited and fined for 12 serious and one other-than-serious safety and health violations. Fines of $41,300 were proposed against the company.

Congress Materials LLC's work site in Euless, Texas, was inspected on June 3 after a complaint was made about an unsafe work environment. OSHA sent inspectors from the Fort Worth Area Office to the site who discovered fall hazards, inhalation hazards and electrical hazards.

Specifically, OSHA inspectors cited the company for exposing its employees to fall hazards by failing to repair and maintain broken railings, stairways and ladders. Additionally, the company failed to provide training on the use of respirators for employees who were exposed to silica dust particles while grinding concrete, OSHA alleged.

The company also did not supply potable water or mounted fire extinguishers, and unsafe electrical cords existed on the premises, OSHA said. These were all considered serious violations, which OSHA defines as creating a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, about which the employer knew or should have known.

The less-than-serious violation the company was cited for was not maintaining the OSHA 300 log for injuries and illnesses that occur on the job. OSHA uses the logs to see which industries experience the most safety issues and other important tracking.

The company in this case is lucky that it has a chance to eliminate these hazards before a worker was hurt or killed. The costs associated with a personal injury lawsuit could have been much higher than the proposed OSHA fines.

Source: OSHA Regional News Release, "US Labor Department's OSHA cites Euless, Texas, concrete recycling facility for exposing workers to multiple safety and health violations," Nov. 23, 2011

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