US Department of Labor's OSHA cites American Marazzi Tile for exposing
workers to excessive noise levels, lack of machine guarding and other hazards
Sunnyvale, Texas-based tile manufacturer faces proposed fines of $318,000
SUNNYVALE, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Marazzi Tile Inc. with 25 safety and health violations for exposing workers to excessive noise levels, machine guarding hazards and other dangerous conditions at its facility in Sunnyvale. Proposed penalties total $318,000.
OSHA's Dallas Area Office initiated an investigation on July 13 at the company's Clay Road facility as part of the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to workplaces with higher-than-average injury and illness rates.
"This company knowingly failed to implement necessary safety and health programs to protect employees from coming into contact with moving parts of machinery and prevent hearing loss," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "It's the employer's responsibility to know the hazards and safeguard workers from these hazards in order to provide a working environment free of injuries and illnesses."
Three willful violations involve failing to establish and maintain a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels; provide the required machine guards for exposed belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets; and establish a lockout/tagout program for energy sources to protect workers from the unexpected start up of machinery. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Twenty-one serious violations involve failing to provide personal protective equipment, provide confined space training, provide machine guarding to prevent workers from coming into contact with rotating parts, develop energy control procedures for machines with more than one energy source, provide fire extinguisher training, properly store oxygen and acetylene cylinders, develop a bloodborne pathogens program and train employees on hazardous chemicals used in the facility. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
One other-than-serious violation is for failing to post a copy of the hearing conservation standard in the workplace. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA has placed American Marazzi Tile in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Initiated in June 2010, the program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on SVEP, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AmericanMarazziTile_314183450_0112_12.pdf*
American Marazzi Tile employs about 254 workers who produce ceramic wall and floor tile products at the Sunnyvale location. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Dallas area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Dallas office at 214-320-2400.
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 ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.