When a fatality or serious injury occurs at a nearby business in your industry, expect OSHA to pay a visit to look for similar hazards.
In January, Juan Batten, a 22-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, died when he became caught in an auger of a mixing machine at Tortilleria Chinantla in Brooklyn, NY.
As a result, OSHA inspected the facility where Batten worked and two unconnected tortilla manufacturing plants in Brooklyn. Now all three facilities face OSHA fines.
OSHA found Tortilleria Chinantla didn’t guard the mixer where Batten was working to prevent employees from coming into contact with its points of operation.
The facility also faces OSHA fines for:
- other machine guarding hazards
- lack of a lockout/tagout program to prevent unintended startup of machinery
- not having a chemical hazard communication program
- lack of required training for operators of forklifts, and
- not recording the worker’s death on its illness and injury log.
OSHA issued one willful, six serious and one other-than-serious violation to Tortilleria Chinantla with a total of $62,400 in fines.
Buena Vista Tortillas was cited for 13 serious and one other-than-serious violation with $39,000 in fines for machine guarding, electrical, lockout/tagout, fire extinguisher, exit route and fall hazards.
La Tortilleria Mexicana Los Tres Hermanos was cited for 12 serious violations with $33,600 in proposed fines for machine guarding, electrical, exit route, forklift and formaldehyde hazards.
In a press release, OSHA said companies need to ensure workers understand the hazards associated with their jobs. “That is especially important in workplaces where English may not be the employees’ primary language,” said Diana Cortez, OSHA’s regional diverse workforce coordinator. “Employees must provide information and training in a way their workers will understand.”
You can find training tools from OSHA in Spanish here.