US Minerals Inc. also operates plants in Illinois and Louisiana.
A December 2 release from States News Service notes that OSHA has cited the company with three willful and 35 alleged serious violations with regard to exposing workers to multiple hazards at its facility in Galveston. Proposed penalties for the Texas labor law violations add up to $273,000.
There is a difference between a "willful" violation and a violation deemed "serious," according to OSHA. Willful violations are those committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for Texas employment law requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious violation, on the other hand, involves the substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The OSHA action in Galveston stemmed from a similar inspection at the US Minerals facility in Baldwin, Illinois, this past March that saw the US Department of Labor levy almost a half million dollars in fines for some 35 health and safety violations. OSHA moved to open inspections at the company's other facilities—including the Galveston operation, where it found various Texas labor and employment violations.
OSHA cited US Minerals Inc. for willfully failing to provide fall protection for open-sided platforms, failing to provide conveyors equipped with emergency stops or pull cords, and failing to provide adequate fall protection for the bulk loadout area.
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"This company jeopardized the safety of its employees by not providing the proper fall protection and machine guarding," said Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director for the Houston South Area Office. "Employers' disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated."
The press release noted that the company had 15 days to comply and address the Texas employment violations, request additional information from OSHA or contest the citations.