Continental Manufacturing Co. Inc., doing business as Continental Mixer, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 35 safety and health violations, including 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 was injured using an unguarded power tool at the employer's Houston facility. Proposed penalties total $286,200.
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 was cited 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 cited 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 has been cited 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. Similar violations were cited at a related facility in Springfield, Ohio.
Nine other violations, with $9,900 in penalties, were issued 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 has placed Continental Manufacturing in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.
The Houston-based cement mixer manufacturer employs 130 workers at its Houston location. Its parent company employs about 16,500 worldwide. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its current citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston South area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.