Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: 214-767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
ROUND ROCK, Texas -- The alleged failure to protect employees from safety hazards has brought TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co. in Round Rock $118,350 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a fatality at the facility in July 2007.
TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co. was cited for one willful, 20 serious and two other-than-serious violations following an accident at the company's plant on Interstate Highway 35. OSHA began its investigation on July 16 when an employee was struck and killed by flying parts of an unguarded rotating piece of machinery. The facility, which manufactures and tests motor controls, employs more than 300 workers.
"Every employee has the right to a safe and healthful workplace," said Eric S. Harbin, OSHA's area director in Austin, Texas. "Whether or not an employer follows federal regulations in safeguarding against hazards can mean the difference between life and death."
The willful violation is for failure to ensure that couplings and shafts were guarded while rotating. OSHA issues a willful citation when there is evidence of intentional violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or plain indifference to the act's requirements.
Serious citations include failure to guard open-sided floors and platforms, provide adequate personal protective equipment, adequately protect employees from hazards associated with welding and brazing, and provide protection against electrical hazards. A serious violation is one involving a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Other-than-serious violations are for failure to perform a hazard assessment for personal protective equipment and ensure that fire extinguishers were operating efficiently.
TECO-Westinghouse has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards may call OSHA's Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271 or OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace safety and health-related incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to employees.
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.