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Region 6 News Release: 13-1826-DAL
Sept. 16, 2013
Contact: Diana Petterson      Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710      972-850-4709
Email: petterson.diana@dol.gov      rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

Houston, Texas, waste services employer and temporary labor provider cited by
US Labor Department's OSHA for worker's death from excessive heat exposure
BFI Waste Services of Texas and Recana Solutions cited for seven violations

HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited BFI Waste Services of Texas LP, doing business as Republic Services Inc., and their temporary labor provider Recana Solutions LLC with seven safety violations for exposing workers to excessive heat after a worker died from heat stress in June.

"It is truly a matter of life and death that workers and employers take proactive steps to stay safe in extreme heat and be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion," said Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director in the Houston South office. "It's as simple as drinking plenty of water and taking breaks in cool, shaded areas in order to save lives."

BFI Waste Services of Texas was cited for two serious violations, with a penalty of $14,000, for failing to provide first aid training and protect workers from recognized heat stress hazards. Two other-than-serious violations, with a penalty of $6,000, was cited for failing to report the facility to OSHA within 8 hours and record the temporary worker's fatality on the employer's OSHA 300 log for record keeping. Recana Solutions was cited for one serious violation, with a penalty of $7,000, for failing to protect workers from recognized heat stress hazards. Two other-than- serious violations, with a penalty of $6,000, were cited for failing to report the fatality to OSHA within 8 hours and provide personal protection equipment. BFI Waste Services proposed penalties total $20,000 and Recana Solutions proposed penalties total $13,000. 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. 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.

OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additionally, a Web page provides information and resources on heat illness - including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency - for workers and employers. The page is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html.

OSHA also has a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. Available for Android-based platforms and the iPhone, the app can be downloaded in both English and Spanish by visiting http://s.dol.gov/RI.

Proposed penalties for both companies total $33,000 The companies have 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston South area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583 or Houston North Area Office at 281-591-2438.

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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.


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