EL PASO, Texas – Bruce Foods Corporation, a manufacturer of Mexican food based in El Paso, Texas, was cited by OSHA after an employee suffers amputation. The company now faces $194,350 in fines.
OSHA cited the company for 24 serious safety violations including failing to train employees in lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures, inadequate machine guarding, lack of fall protection, and exposing employees to live electrical parts.
OSHA found the employer’s lockout/tagout procedure was inadequate in that it did not identify multiple sources of energy and did not contain procedural steps to be utilized for the control of all hazardous energy associated with specific equipment. Furthermore, employees were exposed to unexpected energization because lockout/tagout devices were not provided to secure machines from energy sources thereby creating caught-between, struck-by, or electrical shock hazards.
Additionally, inspectors discovered that an authorized employee conducting maintenance operations did not follow the generic LOTO procedures and only placed duct tape over the lid of the electrical control panel stating “Danger, don’t turn on men working”. As a result, the employee was exposed to residual and/or stored energy such as pneumatic, kinetic, and steam.
“Moving machine parts can cause severe injuries when they are not properly guarded and safety procedures are not in place,” said OSHA El Paso Area Director Diego Alvarado Jr. “This injury could have been prevented with employee training and proper machine guarding.”
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.