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OSHA News Release
Region 6

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Region 6 News Release: OSHA-06-803-DAL
Monday, May 8, 2006
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221

OSHA Fines Louisiana Contractor $179,900 for Alleged Safety and Health Violations Following Amputation at Texas Worksite

ATLANTA, Texas -- A Cottonport, La., based contractor has been fined $179,900 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged safety violations related to the injury of a 19-year-old laborer at an Atlanta, Texas, worksite in November 2005.

OSHA cited Merrick Construction Co. for two alleged willful, 13 alleged serious and two alleged other-than-serious violations of safety standards following a comprehensive inspection prompted by the double-leg amputation of a teen worker who was performing maintenance on a tire shredding machine. The company, which also performs highway construction, reclaims rubber from tires for inclusion with asphalt products. It employs about 120 workers in the Gulf States region, with approximately 30 working at the Atlanta facility.

"Hazardous conditions in the workplace had been brought to this employer's attention by a number of employees and yet this employer took no action to safeguard workers," said Kathryn Delaney, OSHA's area director in Dallas. "If the company had followed OSHA standards, it is possible the injuries sustained by this young man, as well as others, could have been avoided."

The two willful citations were issued for failing to provide lockout/tagout procedures for equipment during maintenance activities and for failing to train workers. A willful violation is one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Some of the 13 alleged serious violations included failing to repair brakes on heavy equipment, safeguard employees against falls from elevated equipment, protect employees from excessive noise, guard moving parts on machinery, repair broken welding equipment, protect employees from electrical hazards and protect employees from exposure to blood-borne diseases. 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 company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's Dallas 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 can call OSHA's Dallas area office at (214) 320-2400 or OSHA's toll-free hotline number, 1-800-321-6742, to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.

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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