SAN MARCOS, TX — Previous inspections by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration have given the operators of a family-owned tortilla factory south of Austin every opportunity to resolve its safety issues. Yet, OSHA has found the company still exposing workers to the risks of amputation and other serious injuries.
Worker complaints of dangerous amputation hazards led OSHA to again investigate conditions at El Milagro of Texas Inc. and the agency’s inspectors determined that the company once again failed to follow hazardous energy control procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or movement during maintenance and servicing. As a result, inspectors cited El Milagro for three repeat violations related to energy control and four serious violations for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures.
OSHA also cited the company for a repeat violation for failing to fit-test workers using respirators, and a serious violation for not performing medical evaluations for respirator use. The agency has proposed $218,839 in fines. OSHA cited the company for the same violations in 2015 and 2018.
“More than half of workplace amputations involve some type of machinery, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Energy control and lockout/tagout procedures are vital to protecting workers in manufacturing facilities,” said OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin, Texas. “OSHA will hold employers accountable when they fail to comply with requirements to prevent worker exposure to dangerous hazards.”
El Milagro of Texas has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.