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Feds propose $400K in fines after worker allegedly injured at Sulphur Springs concrete plant

Morning headlines for Friday July 1, 2022
Morning headlines for Friday July 1, 2022 02:20

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — OSHA has proposed that a company that owns a concrete manufacturing plant in Northeast Texas pay over $400,000 in fines after an investigation found that a worker was seriously injured due to alleged safety violations.

According to a US Department of Labor spokesperson, on January 3, 2022, a worker at Armorock LLC's Sulphur Springs facility was seriously injured after being struck by a large mold. 

Armorock LLC manufactures concrete polymer manholes and other wastewater management structures. The company has about 100 employees at their Sulphur Springs, Texas, Boulder City, Nevada and Plant City, Florida facilities.

A subsequent OSHA investigation found that the company had failed to install machine guards that would have prevented the accident. Federal investigators also allege that a similar incident had occurred on the same platform in March 2021.

Federal inspectors said they also found that workers had been exposed to unacceptable airborne concentrations of crystalline silica due to the company's poor housekeeping. Breathing in airborne silica crystals can put workers at risk of several diseases, including an incurable lung illness called silicosis that can lead to lung cancer, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, disability, and even death.

Armorock LLC was issued citations for one willful and 25 serious violations. The total proposed penalties add up to $400,902.

"Armorock LLC's willingness to ignore hazards that previously caused a worker's injury is difficult to understand," said OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas. "Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe workplace for all employees, including temporary workers. When they do not, the U.S. Department of Labor will hold them accountable."

In addition to being cited for the machine guards and silica exposure, the company received citations for alleged violations including failing to provide guards on other machines, not implementing a process safety management program, and failing to protect workers from several other workplace hazards.

The citations issued are not necessarily proof in themselves that the company is guilty of any wrong doing, and after Armorock LLC receives the citations and penalties, it has 15 business days to either comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

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