Texas Food Processor Faces OSHA Safety Fines

San Antonio, Texas-based specialty food processor Surlean Foods has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a total of nine violations in the wake of the death of one of their employees, 68-year-old Raul Saucedo, who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while he was picking up trash at a company plant ear downtown Dallas. He was declared dead at the scene from head trauma.

The death triggered an OSHA investigation of the plant, and investigators found a large number of problems, including some directly related to Saucedo’s death, such as the company’s failure to provide workers with high-visibility clothing, as well as a number of other potential risks to workers throughout the plant.

According to the OSHA inspection report, Surlean “lacked key elements (of a safe workplace) such as: addressing the hazards of their process; ensuring the equipment was safe for the location it was in and ensuring employees operating the process were trained in safe work practices.”

Among the specific violations for which Surlean was cited included one due to workers being exposed to amputation hazards because rotating industrial machine parts had not been properly guarded. They also noted that workers were not following proper procedures for the use of chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, both of which were being used as a refrigerant at the plant. They were also cited for their failure to develop and implement a written process safety management system for chemical exposure. Because they lacked such a system, they were also cited for their failure to satisfy such important OSHA requirements for employee participation, requirements for equipment and development of an emergency action plan.

After OSHA cited them, Surlean officials sent out an email release in which they noted that they had received the agency notifications and were working to “diligently correct what needs correction.” They noted that worker safety was “a top priority.”

Every worker in the state of Texas has the right to work in a safe and secure environment, and every single Texas employer has an absolute responsibility to keep all of their workers safe and secure while on the job. However, sometimes employers take shortcuts and don’t do all they can to keep workers safe. When they fail to do so, they can be found negligent.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured at work or killed while working in a processing plant, or any other Texas workplace, please contact the Texas Worksite Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we can help protect your rights under the law.


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