After Fatality, Firm Faces More Safety Fines

Monday, December 22, 2014 @ 05:12 PM gHale

Raul Saucedo, who had not been provided with high-visibility clothing by his employer, ended up fatally struck by a car while cleaning outside the Surlean Foods facility, but that was not the end of the violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A subsequent inspection on June 30 found the San Antonio, TX-based custom meat and packing processor also exposed workers to amputation hazards by failing to guard rotating industrial machine parts and implement a written Process Safety Management system for chemical exposures. As a result, Surlean Foods received a $52,000 fine. The company employs 330 workers at its San Antonio facility.

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“When working in low light near moving vehicles, employees must be provided with high-visibility clothing,” said Alejandro Porter, OSHA’s acting area director in San Antonio. “Surlean Foods must find and fix hazards that could expose workers to needless injuries or death.”

OSHA issued nine serious safety and health citations to Surlean Foods for PSM system violations after the company used improper procedures for chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, widely used as a refrigerant in industrial facilities. PSM has process and equipment requirements and procedures employers follow to address chemical hazards proactively.

OSHA also cited Surlean Foods for failure to implement a written PSM with key provisions, including employee participation, equipment inspection requirements, proper plan management and development of an emergency action plan. 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.

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