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Region 2 News Release: 11-1114-NEW/BOS 2011-268
July 29, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites 3 Brooklyn, NY, tortilla manufacturers
for safety and health hazards following worker fatality
OSHA safety and health resources available for Spanish-speaking workers and employers

NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited three Brooklyn tortilla manufacturers for a total of 34 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards following inspections conducted in the wake of the January death of a worker at Tortilleria Chinantla Inc., located at 975 Grand St.

Juan Batten, a 22-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, died when he became caught in the auger of a mixing machine. OSHA's inspection found that the mixer was not guarded to prevent employees from coming into contact with its points of operation.

"Proper and effective machine guarding would have eliminated this hazard and prevented this young worker's death," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. "This was a clearly recognizable hazard that should have been addressed."

In addition to other machine guarding hazards identified during the inspection, Tortilleria Chinantla lacked a hazardous energy control – or "lockout/tagout – program to prevent the unintended startup of machinery, a chemical hazard communication program and the required training for operators of powered industrial trucks. The company also failed to record the worker's death on its illness and injury log. As a result, Tortilleria Chinantla was cited for one willful, six serious and one other-than-serious violation, carrying a total of $62,400 in proposed fines.

A willful violation is one committed with intent