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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-04-245-DAL
Thu, Feb. 26, 2004
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
HOUSTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Toshiba International Corp. of Houston for exposing workers to electrical hazards following the electrocution of an employee last August.
"To ensure that injury and illness rates continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards, " said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $162,450 in this case demonstrates the Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."
Toshiba International was cited with two alleged willful and nine alleged serious violations following an OSHA inspection that began Aug. 23, when an employee was electrocuted after coming in contact with an energized 4,160-volt feeder in a substation.
Toshiba International Corp. operates under Toshiba America Inc., headquartered in New York, which employs about 10,000 workers company-wide, 800 of who work in Houston.
The alleged willful violations were for failing to adequately train employees in safety procedures during maintenance work and the dangers of electrical hazards. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The alleged serious violations include failing to provide employees with written lockout procedures to prevent the unintended energizing of equipment, failing to schedule periodic lockout audits, failing to provide machine guarding, failing to indicate high voltage warnings at substations and failing to protect electrical conductors from abrasions. "Lockout/tagout" procedures must be followed to make sure the energy source is properly tagged and locked before being used. A serious violation is one in which there is a 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 an informal conference with the OSHA Houston South area director, or contest the citations and proposed 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 Houston North office at (281) 591-2438 or OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing an imminent danger to workers.
OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. In 2002, the most recent year for which data have been published, there was a 6.6 percent decline in work-related fatalities in the U.S. In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2000 inspections over 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. 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. The U.S. Department of Labor 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.
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