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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-03-09
Weds., Jan. 22, 2003
Contact: Diana Peterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
DALLAS -- A Houston sheet metal fabrication shop's failure to implement procedures to prevent the accidental startup of a waste handling machine contributed to the death of an employee, according to citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"This company had been cited by OSHA in the past for similar violations," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "Following the appropriate safety standards might have prevented this accident."
Campo Sheet Metal Works Inc, a manufacturer of various metal works, was fined $175,000 for four alleged willful and two alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, following an investigation at the company's Houston facility on Lindbergh that began July 29, 2002, in response to the 17-year-old employee's death. The company employs about 49 workers.
According to Raymond Skinner, OSHA's Houston South area director, the willful citations were for failing to develop and implement a "lockout/tag-out" program. Lockout/tag-out involves shutting off and locking out the energy source to a machine that is undergoing maintenance or repair to prevent an accidental startup. The company failed to train workers against the hazards of releasing stored energy, failed to conduct annual inspections of the employees as they performed the lockout/tag-out procedures to identify weaknesses in the program, and failed to remove employees to a safe position before equipment is energized.
A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the OSHA law and regulations.
The two serious violations were for failing to train employees and require the use of personal protective equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from the violation.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the nearest OSHA office. OSHA=s toll-free hotline may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
The employer has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov.
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