Region 6 News Release: USDL-OSHA-98-94-11-10
Tuesday, November 10, 1998
Contact: Diana Petterson or Beverly Sepulveda, (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
OSHA PROPOSES $62,000 PENALTY AGAINST SAN ANTONIO MEAT COMPANY
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Surlean Meat Co. of San Antonio, a subsidiary of L&H Packing Co., for alleged safety and health violations with proposed penalties of $62,000, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.
The OSHA programmmed planned inspection conducted in September found that employees were subjected to sound levels exceeding the required 85 decibel level and were not provided with audiometric testing to determine the amount of hearing loss. Most of the work areas tested by OSHA exceeded the 85 decibels and in some instances were as high as 96 decibels.
"Annual hearing tests for employees in work environments subject to high levels of occupational noise are required by law," said Paul Brantley, OSHA area director in Austin. "This employer has chosen not to test any of his employees. It is quite possible that a number of these employees have suffered permanent hearing loss, but without the test a proper assessment cannot be made."
The company was cited for six serious violations of safety and health standards, one willful violation, and three other-than-serious violations.
The willful violation was for failure to establish and maintain an audiometric testing program. A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Acts.
The six serious violations were for failure to provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees working with battery acid; machine guarding was not provided; compressed air used for cleaning purposes was not reduced; floor holes were not guarded; employees were subject to sound levels exceeding standards; and danger signs were not posted.
A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Surlean has 15 days from the receipt of the citations to either comply or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.