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Region 6 News Release: 14-322-DAL
Feb. 27, 2014
Contact: Diana Petterson      Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710      972-850-4709
Email: petterson.diana@dol.gov      rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Houston employer for 8 willful,
egregious violations after worker injured on machine without safeguards

HOUSTON – Following an incident where a machine operator's arms were crushed, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Custom Rubber Products LLC with eight willful, egregious violations. The company created a dangerous work environment by failing to guard machines, which exposed workers to life-threatening hazards. Proposed penalties for the Houston facility total $560,000.

"In an instant, moving machine parts can crush workers or amputate fingers or limbs," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Safeguards are essential to protect workers from these preventable injuries. Employers must ensure that guards are functioning on machines that can cause these injuries, and there is no excuse for failing to provide them."

OSHA's Houston North Area Office began the September 2013 inspection in response to a complaint that a worker was severely injured while operating an unguarded machine. During the inspection, OSHA became aware of two other incidents that occurred previously at the facility; both involved severe injuries to employees while operating similar machinery.

The eight willful violations, with a penalty of $560,000, were cited for failing to provide one or more methods of machine guarding to protect the operator and other workers in the machine area from hazards created by rotating parts while operating seven manual lathes and other equipment. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or volunta