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Texas-based tile manufacturer fined $300k by OSHA

The U.S. Occupational and Health Administration has been put in charge of regulating workplace safety in the United States. OSHA implements regulations aimed at preventing dangerous workplaces. OSHA then conducts inspections to make sure that these initiatives are being followed.

When companies are found in breach of OSHA's safety regulations, they can be fined heavily. A Texas-based tile manufacturer learned that the hard way after it was handed $318,000 in proposed fines from OSHA after an inspection found 25 safety and health violations.

OSHA said that it cited American Marazzi Tile Inc. with the violations for exposing workers at its facility in Sunnyvale to excessive noise levels, machine guarding hazards and other dangerous conditions. OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas said that three of the violations were willful.

The inspection was conducted as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on enforcing health and safety initiatives at workplaces with injury and illness rates that are higher-than-average. The goal is to identify and fix hazardous conditions before more injuries illnesses occur.

The three willful violations involved the company's failure to implement a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise levels exceeding a certain level, its failure to provide requisite machine guards for certain dangerous machinery and its failure to protect workers from the unexpected start up of machinery.

Additionally, there were 21 serious violations discovered by the OSHA inspection as well as one other-than-serious violation. The company, which employs about 254 workers, will now have a chance to respond to the allegations made by OSHA and the fines proposed.

Source: OSHA Regional News Release, "US Department of Labor's OSHA cites American Marazzi Tile for exposing workers to excessive noise levels, lack of machine guarding and other hazards," Jan. 13, 2012

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