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OSHA News Release
Region 6

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Region 6 News Release: OSHA-06-422-DAL
Tuesday, March, 21, 2006
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221

OSHA Cites Elgin Brick Plant for Alleged Safety and Health Violations

ELGIN, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations against U.S. Bricks Inc., doing business as Hanson Bricks in Elgin, Texas, for alleged violations of safety and health standards. Proposed penalties total $55,000.

OSHA's citations alleged 17 serious violations and one other-than-serious violation following an investigation that began Oct. 11. The agency received a complaint after an employee had his arm caught in a conveyor belt during maintenance operations at the company's facility on 506 Highway 290.

"U.S. Bricks did not have an effective lockout/tag-out procedure," said Eric Harbin, OSHA's Austin area office director. "If the company had followed OSHA's safeguards to prevent an unexpected release of energy to machines, this accident may well have been avoided."

Alleged serious violations included failure to: ensure machines are locked out during positioning operations; provide adequate machine guarding for conveyor pulleys; protect employees from electrical hazards; train employees in the use of hazardous chemicals; identify respiratory hazards, and ensure workers are trained to administer first aid in emergency situations.

A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The other-than-serious citation was issued for failure to train and certify forklift operators.

U.S. Bricks is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. The company employs approximately 1,500 people nationwide, about 60 of whom work in Elgin.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's Austin area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Austin-area employers and workers with questions about safety and health can call (512) 374-0271. Use OSHA's hotline number 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or imminent dangers.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit

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