OSHA Soaks Texas Launderer in Fines for Fall Hazards

OSHA began its inspection June 10 at the company's worksite and found employees operating a forklift without wearing a seat belt, as well as wet floors in passageways, aisles, and laundry work areas.

OSHA has issued Texas Linen Co. Ltd. five serious and 15 repeat citations following a safety and health inspection at the company's facility in Austin, Texas. Proposed penalties total $126,400.

"This is not the first time this company has exposed its employees to workplace hazards," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "OSHA's safety and health standards must be followed to prevent injuries and accidents."

OSHA began its inspection June 10 at the company's worksite and found employees operating a forklift without wearing a seat belt, as well as wet floors in passageways, aisles, and laundry work areas.

OSHA issued serious citations alleging a failure to provide fall protection for employees working at an elevation of 16 feet; to provide an adequate number of locks and enforce lockout procedures during machine servicing to prevent injuries from unexpected re-start of machines and equipment; and to ensure a fiberglass ladder was set up and used correctly. A serious citation is issued 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.

Repeat citations were issued alleging a failure to keep flooring dry; cover floor holes; provide machine guards for rotating parts, points of operation, and sprockets and chains; provide illuminated exit signs and clear exit access; provide properly identified locks for machine servicing; and provide working and easily accessible portable fire extinguishers. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

In 2008, the company was fined more than $150,000 and cited for more than 40 safety and health violations at this same location, including a willful citation for not providing Hepatitis B vaccinations to employees within 10 days of being assigned to handle soiled health care linens.

According to its website, the company is a launderer for businesses that use linens or uniforms.

Texas Linen Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the latest citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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