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Tortilla factory faces $106K in penalties for failing to protect workers from dangerous machinery


August 12, 2016
By OSHA

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Aug. 12, 2016 – La Espiga de Oro Inc., a Houston, Texas, tortilla factory faces $106,700 in federal penalties for exposing employees to amputation, machine, fall and extreme heat hazards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Houston initiated an investigation on June 20, 2016, at the Houston Heights location of La Espiga de Oro, after the agency received a complaint of unsafe working conditions at the tortilla maker. Its inspection resulted in 25 serious violations for exposing workers to struck-by and caught-in hazards and failing to protect workers from dangerous machinery. Inspectors also found workers exposed to extreme heat, electrical hazards including exposed energized electrical parts and fall hazards as they loaded dough into machines used to make tortillas.

“A worker exposed to machines without proper guards can lose a finger, a limb or their life,” said Steve DeVine, OSHA’s assistant area director in the Houston North office. “Employers like La Espiga de Oro are responsible for recognizing and fixing hazards in the workplace. With more than two dozen serious violations, it’s clear this company needs to take its employees’ safety far more seriously.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.