OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-05-2085-DAL
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Port Elevator-Brownsville L.C. of Brownsville, Texas, for three willful and eight serious safety violations following an investigation that began April 27 when a worker, unprotected by a lifeline or body harness, fell into a grain elevator and was engulfed by grain. Proposed penalties total $120,500.
"OSHA's safety standards are specifically designed to protect workers," said John Giefer, OSHA Corpus Christi area director. "This tragedy might have been avoided if the company had complied with regulations."
The alleged willful violations included failing to: provide necessary training on the hazards of working in a grain elevator; enforce "lockout/tagout" procedures that deactivate grain transport equipment when employees are walking or working on grain, and provide personal protective equipment. In this situation, the employee was neither attached to a life line nor wearing a body harness. OSHA issues a willful citation when there is evidence of the intentional violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or plain indifference to its requirements.
Among the alleged serious violations were failure to: ensure that floor openings and platforms were guarded; enforce ladder safety requirements; adjust a peripheral guard on a pedestal grinder; and properly install receptacles and flex cables, exposing employees to electrical shock hazards. A serious citation is issued 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.
Port Elevator-Brownsville, a grain storage and shipping company, employs about 33 workers. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA'a 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 may contact OSHA's Corpus Christi area office at (361) 888-3420 or may call OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742. Workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing an imminent danger to workers may also be reported on the agency's hotline.
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.
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 at (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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