US Department of Labor finds worker suffered serious internal injuries because employer ignored machine safety procedures

1 month ago
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OSHA proposes $400K in fines to Armorock LLC for willful, serious safety violations

SULPHUR SPRINGS, TX – A federal workplace safety investigation found that a temporary worker suffered serious injuries on Jan. 3, 2022, after being struck by a large mold at a Texas concrete polymer manufacturing company. It was determined that the employer failed to install machine guards that would have prevented the incident.

Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration also learned that a similar injury had occurred at the Armorock LLC’s Sulphur Springs facility in March 2021 on the same platform where employees fill molds with resin.

Federal inspectors also determined that the employer’s poor housekeeping exposed workers to airborne concentrations of respirable crystalline silica, which put workers at increased risk of serious silica-related diseases including silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death; lung cancer; and chronic obstructive pulmonary or kidney disease.

OSHA issued citations to Armorock LLC for one willful and 25 serious violations and proposed penalties of $400,902.

“Armorock LLC’s willingness to ignore hazards that previously caused a worker’s injury is difficult to understand,” said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas. “Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe workplace for all employees, including temporary workers. When they do not, the U.S. Department of Labor will hold them accountable.”

In addition to lack of machine guards and silica exposure, the company was cited for:

  • Failing to provide proper machine guarding on a rotating table used to pour concrete into the molds.
  • Exposing workers to slip and trip hazards in the production area.
  • Failing to provide adequate energy control procedures or sufficient lockout/tagout devices.
  • Failing to provide the correct respirators and not performing annual fit testing on employees.
  • Not making eyewash stations available in some areas where they may be needed.
  • Not implementing a process safety management program.
  • Using slings compromised with concrete build-up to lift large objects.

Armorock LLC has about 100 employees who manufacture concrete polymer manholes and other wastewater structures at their Sulphur Springs, Texas, Boulder City, Nevada and Plant City, Florida, facilities.

The company 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.

Learn more about addressing the dangers of hazardous energy and more about crystalline silica.        

Learn more about OSHA.

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