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OSHA seeks $318,000 in safety violation fines against Texas tile manufacturer


SUNNYVALE, Texas—Federal workplace safety regulators are seeking $318,000 in fines against a Texas tile manufacturer for alleged safety and health violations, including excessive noise and missing machine guards.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week cited Sunnyvale, Texas-based American Marazzi Tile Inc. for 25 violations of workplace health and safety rules and proposed fines totaling $318,000.

In a statement Friday, OSHA Regional Director John Hermanson alleged that American Marazzi “willfully” failed to implement a “hearing conservation program” for workers exposed to prolonged work-related noise of more than 85 decibels.

The company also is accused of not installing proper machine guards on exposed belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets, nor did it have a lockout/tag-out system for energy power sources.

“This company knowingly failed to implement necessary safety and health programs to protect employees from coming into contact with moving parts of machinery and prevent hearing loss,” Mr. Hermanson said in the statement. “It's the employer's responsibility to know the hazards and safeguard workers from these hazards in order to provide a working environment free of injuries and illnesses.”

The agency noted 21 other “serious violations,” including failing to provide personal protective equipment, confined space training, and hazardous chemical and fire extinguisher training. The company is also accused of neglecting to develop a prevention and response program for blood-borne pathogens.

OSHA said its Dallas area office began its investigation of American Marazzi in July 2011 at its Clay Road facility as part of its site-specific targeting program designed to increase enforcement on workplaces with high injury and illness rates. As a result, American Marazzi has been placed into OSHA's severe violator enforcement program, which mandates additional onsite inspections.

American Marazzi has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to pay the fine, request an informal conference with OSHA's Dallas area director or contest the charges before an OSHA review board.

American Marazzi did not immediately return a request for comment.