The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued 12 citations for violations of the safety and health practices of American Plant Food Corp.’s (APF) Bartlett Facility. OSHA says that these are willful violations, which means APF—who operates 11 fertilizer-blending plants in Texas— intentionally, knowingly or voluntarily disregarded the law’s requirements on worker safety and health.
OSHA is also considering penalizing APF with a $181,000 fine for exposing its employees to hazards while servicing or maintaining the machines.
After a worker became entangled in an auger at APF, OSHA opened an investigation into the safety practices of the company. Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director in Austin, said in a press release that “this worker’s debilitating injury was preventable had (APF) used certain safeguards.”
OSHA says that APF never provided sufficient training for its employees working with the industrial machinery and that they never properly guarded the machines.
What Does OSHA Consider a Serious Violation?
Of the 12 citations, nine were serious safety violations. According to OSHA, “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.”
Unfortunately, OSHA says that APF has a history of OSHA inspections and citations. In December 1991 and June 1997, APF was investigated for two worker fatalities. Moreover, in 2000, OSHA cited APF for improper control of hazardous materials.
In OSHA’s press release, it said that from the time APF receives the citations, it has 15 business days to either:
- Comply with the citations and penalties
- Request a conference with OSHA
- Dispute the citations and penalties with OSHA’s review commission
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Workers’ Compensation Attorney