US Minerals has been cited for safety violations. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
A manufacturer of abrasive blasting and roofing materials faces fines up to USD77,770 for 11 safety and health violations including forklift-related infractions.
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited US Minerals LLC after a follow-up inspection that began in September 2013 at the firm's Harvey facility.
Regulators say the firm failed to provide adequate forklift training, require operator certifications or remove unsafe forklifts from service.
Other violations involve failing to train and protect workers when entering hazardous confined spaces, implement safe lockout/tagout procedures when maintaining equipment, provide required protection for workers exposed to dangerously high noise levels and ensure forklift operators knew how to work safely.
The company was given 15 working days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge, Louisiana or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
On referral from the agency's national office, the Baton Rouge area office conducted an initial inspection in June 2010 and issued 18 serious, 10 repeat and two other-than-serious violations. Proposed fines at that time totaled USD118,800. US Minerals contested the citations. A formal settlement agreement was reached on 20 August 2012.
One repeat violation was issued for failing to conduct annual inspections of the company's lockout/tagout procedures. A repeat violation exists 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.
"US Minerals continues to jeopardise the safety and health of its workers by failing to fix these problems," says Dorinda Folse, area director. "OSHA's safety and health standards exist to prevent injuries and fatalities. It is the employer's responsibility to protect its workers by following the standards." OSHA is an agency of the US Department of Labor.
Dyer, Indiana-based US Minerals employs about 60 workers and operates other plants in Baldwin and Coffeen, Illinois and Galveston, Texas.