US Minerals LLC fined more than $158,000 for safety violations, endangering its workers

RP news wires
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited U.S. Minerals LLC, a manufacturer of abrasive blasting and roofing materials, with two alleged willful, three alleged serious and four alleged repeat violations at its Baldwin, Ill., facility. The company faces a total of $158,200 in fines for failure to have proper fall protection on elevated platforms, lack of proper electrical control devices and improper energy control training for workers.

OSHA's inspection, which began in February, cited U.S. Minerals with willful violations carrying a penalty of $112,000 for failure to provide proper fall protection on platforms more than 30 feet above ground. The company also failed to have proper lockout/tagout procedures for energy devices. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The company has been issued serious citations with a proposed penalty of $12,600 for not having required energy isolating control devices while employees worked on conveyor systems, failure to have proper start-up warning or emergency stop devices on remotely controlled conveyors, and having broken outdoor electrical conduit and other equipment. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

The repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $33,600, address the company's failure to provide fall protection, failure to have required energy isolation and energy control training and procedures for employees, and lack of proper guarding on belt and pulley drive equipment. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last three years. The U.S. Minerals processing facility was inspected by OSHA in 2007 and received 18 citations.

"There is no excuse for a company to disregard the safety and welfare of its workers by not following OSHA safety standards," said OSHA area director Nick Walters in Fairview Heights, Ill. "Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of their workers."

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

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