Safety Fines for Cement Mixer Maker

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 @ 04:06 PM gHale

Continental Manufacturing Co. Inc., doing business as Continental Mixer, is facing $286,200 in fines for 35 safety and health violations at its Houston facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Houston-based cement mixer manufacturer employs 130 workers at its Houston location. Its parent company employs about 16,500 worldwide. The violations include a failure to implement lockout/tagout procedures to protect workers who service or maintain machines and failure to maintain occupational noise exposure limits. The inspection began in response to a complaint regarding a worker who suffered an injury using an unguarded power tool at the employer’s Houston facility.

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“By failing to identify and correct these numerous safety and health violations, Continental Mixer has exposed its workers to needless and unnecessary hazards, jeopardizing employees’ safety,” said Mark Briggs, OSHA’s area director in the Houston South Area Office.

The 22 serious safety and health violations, with a penalty of $122,300, include failure to indicate the identity of the employee applying a lockout/tagout device and to keep hand tools in safe working condition. Additionally, the company faces citations for lack of maintaining personal protective equipment in a sanitary and reliable condition; failure to evaluate workers medically for physical fitness and to use air purifying respirators; and failure to maintain or replace breathing air filters, as instructed by the manufacturer. 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.

The four repeat violations, with a penalty of $154,000, were for failure to conduct periodic inspections of lockout/tagout procedures and failure to guard machines at the point of operation. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced a citation 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. There were similar violations at a related facility in Springfield, Ohio.

Nine other violations, with $9,900 in penalties, were for failure to store compressed gas cylinders properly; record injuries and illnesses; identify and evaluate respiratory hazards; and fit test facepiece respirators before employee use.

Due to the repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA placed Continental Manufacturing in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

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