Sept. 15, 2014
Cut stone manufacturer exposes workers to amputation hazards, hearing loss
Mezger Enterprises Ltd. cited for 27 violations with fines totaling $234,900
AUSTIN, Texas – Cut limestone manufacturer Mezger Enterprises Ltd. has been cited for 27 safety and health violations, including two willful, by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company exposed workers to unguarded machines, unsafe electrical equipment, infrequent crane inspections and noise levels that could cause hearing loss at its Kempner facility. Proposed penalties total $234,900.
OSHA's Austin Area Office initially conducted a health inspection in March 2014 as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program for Noise*. A referral was then made for a safety inspection to address machine guarding concerns. That inspection was expanded to include overhead cranes and other safety concerns.
"Employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful working environments, and this inspection found Mezger Enterprises woefully short in meeting their responsibilities," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Failing to inspect cranes, maintain electrical equipment in a safe condition, guard cutting machines and ensure hearing protection for workers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
The two willful violations, with a penalty of $126,000, were cited for failure to conduct hearing tests for workers exposed to noise levels exceeding 90 decibels; in this case, exposures ranged up to 99 decibels averaged over the eight-hour workday and failure to guard large, circular stone saws; a hazard that could result in severe injury or death. 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.
With a penalty of $108,000, 23 serious violations were cited for failure to provide proper sanitation, guard machines, inspect cranes and repair electrical hazards. 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.
Two other violations, with a $900 fine, were cited for failure to maintain the injury and illness logs and provide workers with the respiratory protection standard's Appendix D for voluntary use of respirator devices.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/MezgerEnterprises_964291_0911_14.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/MezgerEnterprises_963570_0911_14.pdf*.
Mezger Enterprises, which employs approximately 111 workers, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Austin Area Office, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety & 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 Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271.
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.
Release Number: 14-1679-DAL
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
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