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Texas plant owner fined $45K by OSHA for violations

For decades, it has been the job of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help keep workers safe in Texas and the rest of the country. This duty involves setting safety rules and regulations, but also enforcing them. OSHA investigations can result in serious penalties for companies with dangerous workplaces.

Recently, a Texas company called Magnablend Inc. was cited with seven serious safety and health violations after an October 2011 chemical fire led to an OSHA investigation at the company's blending plant in Waxahachie. The proposed penalties amount to $45,000 in total.

According to a report from OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office, employees at the plant were exposed to fire hazards because the facility had an inadequate ventilation system. OSHA explained that the company also failed to meet several other safety requirements, including training workers in specific hazardous chemical protection procedures.

In all, the company was cited with seven serious violations, which are defined as causing a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

An OSHA spokesman said that simply installing an adequate ventilation system would have protected workers from fires, like the one that occurred in October 2011. Luckily, no one was injured in that fire, but workers certainly could have been.

OSHA reminds employers that under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have a duty to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. Employers who fail to meet OSHA's safety and health standards could end up paying hefty fines to OSHA, as well as damages in personal injury lawsuits brought by workers who have been injured.

Source: OSHA Regional News Release, "US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Magnablend for serious violations following chemical fire at Waxahachie, Texas, facility," March 30, 2012

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