OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-04-22-DAL
Weds., Jan 14, 2004
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The alleged failure of Total Environmental Solutions Inc. to protect employees from a wide range of safety and health hazards has resulted in citations and proposed penalties of $64,500 from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The company was cited for 11 alleged repeat violations and one serious violation following an OSHA inspection that began Sept. 17, 2003. It covered 12 wastewater treatment sites throughout Louisiana. Total Environmental Solutions, headquartered in Baton Rouge, employs about 26 workers and provides sewer and wastewater treatment services at sewage facilities throughout the state.
"This company's failure to protect its employees will not be tolerated," said Greg Honaker, OSHA area director in Baton Rouge. "Platforms at the treatment sites were riddled with holes large enough for workers to fall into sewage pits or onto the ground. Breaker boxes were missing cover plates, exposing workers to energized wires. These types of violations were consistently found at each plant OSHA investigated."
The alleged repeat violations involved hazards for employees working around wastewater treatment units. They included failure to provide adequate railings to protect against falls into the sludge tank from the elevated working platforms, inadequate walking or working surfaces and failure to ensure adequate guardrails to prevent falls.
Other repeat citations were issued for failure to assess hazards to determine the need for personal protective equipment; not posting warning signs to inform employees about confined space hazards; lack of confined space training; failure to train employees in energy-lockout procedures when performing electrical work; failure to provide guards around moving parts such as pulleys; failure to provide and maintain cover plates on breaker panels; and failure to provide information and training about hazardous chemicals used by employees.
The repeat violations were based on prior inspections conducted in Slidell, La., and Kiln, Miss. OSHA issues a repeat citation when the same or similar violation is found for which the employer has been previously cited.
One alleged serious violation was issued for failing to provide the proper personal protective equipment to guard against exposure to sewage. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees 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 an informal conference with the Baton Rouge 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 the Baton Rouge OSHA area office at (225) 298-5458 or, OSHA's toll-free hotline number may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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