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Region 2 News Release:    05-1737-NEW/BOS 2005-243
Monday, September 19, 2005
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074


Worker Death at St. Thomas Cement Plant Leads to $273,500 in Fines

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Caricement USVI Corp., for 37 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious safety and health violations following the March 9 death of a worker at the company's St. Thomas cement plant. OSHA has proposed $273,500 in fines. The employee died after being caught in an unguarded screw conveyor.

"This case illustrates in the starkest terms why safety and health standards are necessary and why they must always be met," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator.

OSHA found that several screw conveyors were not grated or otherwise guarded against employee contact with their moving parts; an open pit was unguarded; and procedures were not developed and utilized to prevent the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance.

Three willful citations, carrying $180,000 in proposed fines, were issued for these conditions. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

"Management knew these specific safeguards were required, yet did not supply them," said Jose Carpena, OSHA's area director for the Caribbean. "Had safety standards been complied with, this fatal accident could have been prevented."

OSHA also issued 34 serious and other-than-serious citations, with $93,500 in proposed fines, for other unsafe conditions in the plant. These include hazards related to falls; work in confined spaces; machine guarding; electrical equipment; respirators; noise and hearing conservation; hazard communication; lockout/tagout; fire extinguishers; compressed gas storage; personal protective equipment and clothing; an above ground diesel tank; a compressed air hose; and failing to record workplace injuries and illnesses.

A serious violation is a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee. An other-than-serious violation is a condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

Caricement has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Puerto Rico area office, located at 1510 FD Roosevelt Ave., Triple S Plaza Bldg., Suite 5B, Guaynabo, telephone: (787) 277-1560.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. 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.


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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) 693-7773 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.


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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