OSHA News Release: [10/20/2011]
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd or Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x 4709
Release Number: 11-1472-DAL
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Corpus Christi, Texas-based grain elevator operator following bin entrapment
Proposed penalties total nearly $170,000
BROOKSHIRE, Texas The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited M-Power Chemicals LC in Brookshire for 14 serious and two other-than-serious violations, including exposing employees to respiratory and combustible dust hazards. Proposed penalties total $54,600.
"This company jeopardized the safety and health of its workers by exposing them to respiratory and combustible dust hazards," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North Area Office. "Long-term exposure to dust can lead to disabling illnesses."
OSHA's Houston North Area Office conducted its inspection at the company's facility on Farm to Market 529 where workers handle various powders and liquids in the production of lubricating agents to improve flow in pipelines.
The serious violations involve failing to adequately control combustible dust; failing to use noncombustible ventilation ducts; failing to electrically ground bulk container bags while being emptied; failing to keep work and storage areas clean of combustible dust; failing to develop, implement and train employees in a respiratory protection program; failing to medically evaluate and fit-test employees for respiratory protection; and failing to provide warning signs to alert employees of the hazards of combustible dust. 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.
The other-than-serious violations involve failing to use the proper filter cartridge on respirators and failing to list hazardous chemicals used in the workplace. 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.
The company, which employs approximately 30 workers, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Houston, or contest the citations and 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), the agency's Houston North office at 281-591-2438, or its Houston South office at 281-286-0583.
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.