The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hobbs Bonded Fiber Inc. with 29 serious violations following a Dec. 27, 2010, safety and health inspection. OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office initiated the inspection in response to a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions at the company's facility on Commerce Drive in Waco. Proposed penalties total $161,100.
"This company exposed its employees to avoidable workplace hazards," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in Fort Worth. "OSHA's safety standards must be followed to prevent injuries, accidents and fatalities."
Violations include failing to develop and implement a respiratory program; provide training for employees entering confined spaces where an oxygen deficiency may exist; develop a plan to avoid employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens; provide an area for employees to wash their eyes; ensure that compressed oxygen and acetylene gas cylinders were stored separately; provide hazard communication training to employees working with hazardous and toxic chemicals; adequately guard rotating belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets from pinch points and at the point of operation; and provide covers on junction, outlet and transformer boxes. 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.
Hobbs Bonded Fiber, which employs about 160 workers, specializes in the development and manufacturing of nonwoven products for industrial and consumer markets. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Fort Worth or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Workers and employers with questions about workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office at 817-581-7303. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.