Fatality Leads to Safety Violation Penalties for Texas-based Company

January 14, 2008

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed $118,350 in penalties against Round Rock, Texas-based TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co. for the alleged failure to protect employees from safety hazards. The citation follows a fatality at the facility in July 2007.

OSHA reported that TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co. was cited for one willful, 20 serious and two other-than-serious violations following an accident at the company’s plant on Interstate Highway 35.

OSHA began its investigation on July 16 when an employee was struck and killed by flying parts of an unguarded rotating piece of machinery. The facility, which manufactures and tests motor controls, employs more than 300 workers.

The willful violation charge is for failure to ensure that couplings and shafts were guarded while rotating. OSHA issues a willful citation when there is evidence of intentional violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or plain indifference to the act’s requirements.

Serious citations include failure to guard open-sided floors and platforms, provide adequate personal protective equipment, adequately protect employees from hazards associated with welding and brazing, and provide protection against electrical hazards. A serious violation is one involving a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Other-than-serious violations are for failure to perform a hazard assessment for personal protective equipment and ensure that fire extinguishers were operating efficiently.

TECO-Westinghouse has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: OSHA, www.osha.gov

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