Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008
Contact: Diana Petterson Elizabeth Todd
Phone: 972-850-4709 972-850-4710
AUSTIN, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations with proposed penalties totaling $149,100 to Texas Linen Co. Ltd. in Austin for one willful, 43 alleged serious and one other-than-serious safety violations.
"This company failed to protect its employees from workplace hazards which could have caused illness and injuries," said Eric Harbin, OSHA's area director in Austin. "It is critical that employers follow OSHA's standards to provide a safe and healthful working environment. Fortunately, no one was injured in this case."
Following an inspection that began on Feb. 21 at the company's worksite on Smith Road in Austin, OSHA issued a willful violation for not providing the Hepatitis B vaccination to employees within 10 days of being assigned to handle soiled healthcare linens. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The 43 serious citations included failing to: correct electrical hazards; provide machine guarding for power transmission devices; protect employees from exposure to bloodborne pathogens while handling contaminated health care linens; and provide sanitary working conditions. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result when the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Texas Linen Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Austin or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health may contact OSHA's Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to employees.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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 (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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.