OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-04-1921-DAL
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
AUSTIN, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations to The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., doing business as Neiman Marcus Last Call of 4115 S. Capital of Texas Highway in Austin. The Austin store allowed employees to work in a compacting machine while it was still running. OSHA cited the apparel and accessory retail company for one alleged willful and four alleged serious safety violations following an inspection by OSHA's Austin area office that began April 4. Proposed penalties total $93,500.
"This company jeopardized the safety of its workers by not following basic safety and machine guarding standards," said Paul Brantley, OSHA's Austin area office director. "Employees were routinely crawling into the compactor chute to smash down trash while the machine was energized, risking death or injury."
The alleged willful violation was issued for failing to enforce "lockout/tagout" procedures before employees enter a machine. Lockout/tagout involves shutting off and locking out the energy source for machinery that is undergoing maintenance or repair to prevent an accidental startup. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The alleged serious violations include failing to provide written lockout procedures, failing to train employees to perform lockout procedures, failing to maintain the guarding feature on the compacting machine, and failing to protect employees from electrical hazards, such as not providing a cover on an electrical box. A serious violation one in which there is substantially probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Neiman Marcus has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to comply, or request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's Austin area director, 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 can call OSHA in Austin at (512) 916-5783. OSHA's hotline to report workplace accidents, fatalities or imminent dangers is 1-800-321-6742.
In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted 39,817 inspections, a nearly 6 percent increase over the previous year, resulting in a 10 percent increase in citations. 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 www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) 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. DOL 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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