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Meat Plant Fined after Death of Worker

19 December 2014

US - A Texas meat plant has been fined more than $50,000 after a worker was killed by a car while cleaning outside the meat processing plant in San Antonio.

Raul Saucedo had not been provided with high-visibility clothing by his employer the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.

A subsequent inspection by the OSHA on 30 June this year, also found that Surlean Foods, a custom meat and packing processor, exposed workers to amputation hazards by failing to guard rotating industrial machine parts and implement a written Process Safety Management system for chemical exposures.

"When working in low light near moving vehicles, employees must be provided with high-visibility clothing," said Alejandro Porter, OSHA's acting area director in San Antonio.

"Surlean Foods must find and fix hazards that could expose workers to needless injuries or death."

OSHA issued nine serious safety and health citations to Surlean Foods for PSM system violations after the company used improper procedures, for chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, widely used as a refrigerant in industrial facilities.

PSM has process and equipment requirements and procedures employers follow to address chemical hazards proactively.

OSHA also cited Surlean Foods for failure to implement a written PSM with key provisions, including employee participation, equipment inspection requirements, proper plan management and development of an emergency action plan.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Surlean Foods received a $52,000 fine.

The company employs 330 workers at its San Antonio facility and has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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