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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for work injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by work injuries.

A Marshall, Texas, Company Reaches a Settlement Agreement Regarding a $545,160 Penalty with OSHA, after a Manager’s Death

Thursday, November 30th, 2017
This is Maplecroft the main house in the Starr...

This is Maplecroft the main house in the Starr Family State Historic Site in Marshall, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On November 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a settlement agreement with Marshall Pottery, Inc., of Marshall, Texas. Forty-two-year-old assistant plant manager Arturo Gonzalez died on Easter Sunday morning this year when he was servicing a kiln. It became activated, and he was trapped inside. According to his autopsy report, Gonzalez died of environmental hyperthermia on April 17. OSHA investigators cited the company for 6 willful violations and 21 serious violations.

Sources say that the kiln’s automated system closed the kiln doors behind him unexpectedly and without warning, and it began heating. Emergency personnel were advised at about 6:59 am that Gonzalez was stuck and had possibly died in the kiln.

According to OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas, Texas, in 2008, the same company was cited for similar violations after another workplace fatality occurred at the plant. Singh said that it is unacceptable for employers to fail to implement confined space and lockout\tagout programs.

An OSHA publication about confined spaces says that there is increased risk of exposure to serious physical injury from dangers such as hazardous atmospheric conditions, engulfment, and entrapment. Limited access, restricted airflow, and confinement are also among the hazardous conditions that don’t typically arise in open workplace settings.

Employers are responsible to implement written programs for confined spaces. Methods of controlling hazards include isolating the permit space, providing barriers, and purging, flushing, making inert, or ventilating the permit space.

–Guest Contributor

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