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Region 6 News Release: 11-905-DAL
June 22, 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 El Paso, Texas, manufacturing
facility for exposing workers to safety and health hazards

EL PASO, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Plastic Systems LLC for eight serious, three repeat and one other-than-serious violation after an inspection at the company's facility in El Paso uncovered safety and health hazards. Proposed penalties total $96,000.

"This is not the first time Plastic Systems has exposed its workers to preventable workplace hazards," said Zachary Barnett, OSHA's area director in El Paso. "It is fortunate in this case that there were no injuries or accidents."

OSHA's El Paso Area Office initiated an inspection on Jan. 5. Serious violations include failing to maintain a workplace in a clean and orderly manner; maintain an effective hearing conservation program; provide eye protection for employees working near grinding machinery; properly guard industrial machines; ensure forklift operators were certified; and address electrical hazards such as broken wires, open conductors and receptacles. 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 develop and document procedures for an energy control program and periodically inspect an energy control program. 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 last year for similar violations with proposed penalties of $15,000.

The other-than-serious violation is for failing to certify annual injury and illness logs. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Plastic Systems, which employs about 238 workers at its El Paso facility, has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in El Paso or contest the citations and proposed 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 El Paso office at 915-534-6251. 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, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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