News Release USDL: 96-328
Thursday, August 6, 1996
Contact: Deborah Page Crawford (202) 219-8151
OSHA Cites Richter's Bakery of San Antonio Following an
Industrial Fatality; Proposes Penalties of $1,040,000
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued
citations and proposed penalties totalling $1,040,000 against Richter's
Bakery of San Antonio, Inc., in San Antonio, Texas, following an
investigation into an accident in February that killed one worker.
Assistant Secretary of Labor Joseph A. Dear, who heads OSHA, said,
"All employees should be able to come to work and do their job without
fear of injury or death. Taking measures against clear dangers could
have prevented this death."
The fatality occurred after an employee entered the yeast brew vat and
was asphyxiated. Two other employees were rescued from the
oxygen-deficient atmosphere after attempting to pull out the deceased
employee and losing consciousness.
During the investigation, OSHA found numerous violations of its
permit-required confined space, lockout/tagout, hazard communication,
machine guarding and electrical standards. OSHA's confined space
standard is intended to ensure that employees entering potentially
hazardous enclosed areas are properly trained and equipped to prevent
this type of occurrence.
Richter's Bakery is unionized and employs 200 at this location. The
company was cited for 14 willful violations with proposed penalties
of $980,000 for permit-required confined space entry, lockout/tagout,
and hazard communication.
Additionally, the company received citations for 14 serious violations
with a proposed penalty of $55,000 for electrical and machine guarding;
and five other-than serious violations with proposed penalties of $5,000
for housekeeping and electrical.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as a violation committed with
indifference to a standard where there is substantial probability that
death or serious physical harm could result. The maximum penalty
that may be assessed for a willful violation is $70,000.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial
probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the
employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed
penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health