OSHA Out There Helping Workers

A Houston-based plant food fertilizer manufacturer has been cited by OSHA for multiple safety violations and fined a hefty $181,000, for allowing a serious injury to occur as a result of absent safeguards. The penalty, announced by OSHA on May 5, 2014, grew out of a serious leg injury sustained by a company worker at American Plant Food Corp.’s Bartlett facility, near Austin. An OSHA spokesperson said the worker’s injury was preventable had the employer used adequate safeguards. Following the report of injury, investigators found that the company lacked proper energy control procedures to protect workers servicing and maintaining plant machinery. Workers were also inadequately and improperly trained for entering confined spaces and encountering sudden startup machinery. The company received nine serious safety violation citations and three lesser citations, addressing such defects as improper machine guards and electrical equipment and floor openings which constituted hazards, such as sharp edges, pits, etc. The company employs 88 workers at 11 Texas fertilizer-blending plants. OSHA inspectors specifically noted that since the company was a long-established concern with long-term management in place, there was less of a basis to excuse or mitigate these obvious and dangerous safety lapses.
Oh, wouldn’t it be great to have an economy where people so mattered over profits that entities like OSHA were unnecessary? Well, that glorious day is still a ways off given OSHA’s consistent findings out in the field. There is simply no good reason why money should matter to any company doing business in Texas more that the safety, health and well-being of those hard working folks who earn the company every dime it makes. If you are a Texas worker, demand and expect no less than total safety commitment wherever you work. If you see lapses, report them to management. And, if they aren’t promptly addressed, call OSHA. You can call toll-free at (800) 321-OSHA (6742).