US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Hobbs Bonded Fibers for safety
violations following amputation incident at Waco, Texas, facility
WACO, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hobbs Bonded Fibers Inc. for one willful and five serious safety violations after an employee reportedly suffered an amputation at the company's facility on Commerce Drive in Waco. OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office began its investigation Sept. 20 following a report that an employee's arm was pulled into the rollers of an operating textile machine while the employee was cleaning fibrous material out from under the machine.
The willful violation is failing to ensure that shaft ends were guarded and keyways covered, and machine guarding was provided for rotating belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets to prevent contact with pinch points. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The serious violations include failing to ensure an exit route met height/width requirements and was not located in a high-hazard area, provide specific lockout/tagout procedures to verify the control of energy and train workers in relevant lockout/tagout procedures when their job assignments were changed. 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.
"Hobbs Bonded Fibers failed to ensure that proper lockout and tagout procedures for hazardous energy sources were followed," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in Fort Worth. "It is the employer's responsibility to safeguard the workplace for employees. No worker should have to suffer what this worker did in an effort to earn a paycheck."
Proposed penalties for these most recent violations total $103,950. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Hobbs-Bonded-Fibers-Inc-314281221_0319_12.pdf*.
In June 2011, OSHA cited Hobbs with 29 serious violations carrying $161,100 in penalties for exposing workers to a variety of workplace hazards. The company has contested these citations and penalties.
The company, which employs about 210 workers, specializes in the development and manufacturing of nonwoven products for industrial and consumer markets. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Fort Worth area director or contest the citations and proposed 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 Fort Worth office at 817-581-7303.
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.