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Companies fined after worker dies in Texas heat

Everyone knows that working in Texas' summer heat can be extremely dangerous. That's why employers must take extra steps in order to keep workers safe.

Unfortunately, not all employers take these safety precautions and workers can be injured or even killed as a result. That's exactly what happened in June when a Texas worker was killed as a result of heat exposure.

This month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that two businesses, one of which is based in Houston, face fines as a result of the workplace death.

OSHA announced that BFI Waste Services of Texas, doing business as Republic Services, Inc., and Recana Solutions, a temporary staffing agency, were both cited with safety violations and face fines.

Republic Services, Inc. was cited with two "serious" safety violations after failing to provide first aid training and to protect workers from heat-stress hazards. The company was fined $14,000 for both violations as well as $6,000 for failing to report the worker's death to OSHA in a timely manner and failing to keep a proper record of the incident.

The staffing company was slapped with one "serious" safety violation for failing to protect workers from heat-stress hazards. That company faces $7,000 in fines for the safety violation as well as another $6,000 for failing to report the death to OSHA and failing to provide safety equipment to protect its workers.

Employers have eight hours to report a workplace death to OSHA officials. It is imperative that the incidents are reported so that an investigation can take place immediately. Failing to report fatal workplace accidents is not something that is taken lightly by OSHA, as you can see.

Because it appears that both employers may have been negligent, it is possible that a wrongful death lawsuit could be filed by the family of the worker who was killed.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "OSHA fines two businesses after worker's heat-related death," Mike Glenn, Sept. 16, 2013

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