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Region 6 News Release: 11-869-DAL
June 20, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Todd   Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710   972-850-4709
Email: todd.elizabeth@dol.gov   rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites San Antonio tortilla company
for exposing employees to multiple safety and health hazards

SAN ANTONIO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Sanitary Tortilla Co. Ltd. with 12 alleged serious and two repeat violations after a follow-up inspection at the company's work site in San Antonio found safety and health hazards. Proposed penalties total $59,400.

"This is not the first time Sanitary Tortilla has jeopardized the safety of its employees," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in San Antonio. "It is unacceptable to allow previously cited hazards to recur."

OSHA's San Antonio Area Office initiated an inspection on May 12 at the company's facility on Urban Loop, where employees manufacture tortillas and tortilla chips, to determine if previously cited violations had been corrected. In addition to a lack of corrective action, investigators discovered new violations.

Serious violations include failing to ensure machine guarding for chains, sprockets and belts, as well as on a drill press and horizontal lathes; correct electrical deficiencies, such as a lack of face plates on electrical plugs; maintain the manufacturer's identification and markings on panel boards; and ensure fire extinguishers are accessible and fully operational.

OSHA also conducted a health inspection which resulted in a serious citation issued for failing to provide a hearing conservation program when noise levels reach past the action level of 85 decibels for an 8-hour time weighted average. A serious violation occurs 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.

Repeat violations include failing to provide machine guarding on dough mixers and dough molders; provide covers for electrical outlets and a junction box; and provide strain relief for an electrical cord. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the company in 2008 for similar violations with proposed penalties of $4,500.

Sanitary Tortilla has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's San Antonio Area Office 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 standards can call OSHA's San Antonio office at 210-472-5040. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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