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MS Worker Died When Caught in Rotating Screw Conveyor

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Moss Point MS (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Omega Protein Inc. with 25 safety and health violations based on an April inspection of the company's processing plant in Moss Point. OSHA's Jackson Area Office initiated the inspection after the death of a worker who had been caught in a rotating screw conveyor.

"This terrible incident could have been avoided if the employer had followed OSHA's standards for energy control procedures," said Clyde Payne, the agency's area director in Jackson. "It is the employer's responsibility to make sure that employees are aware of and follow energy control procedures for their protection when working on any machinery."

Twenty-one serious violations involve failing to have employees affix personal lockout devices to a group lockout device, develop a written respirator protection program, develop and document procedures for controlling hazardous energy, obtain audiograms annually, provide training for forklift operators, conduct annual noise training, properly secure compressed gas cylinders, and provide a suitable facility for quick eye and body drenching or flushing. OSHA also identified fall and electrical hazards; a lack of equipment guarding on rotating drums, fan blades and horizontal rotating shafts; and a lack of guarding on the belts and pulleys of the grinding screw and the hopper screw conveyor. 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.

Citations have been issued for four other-than-serious violations that include failing to provide signage for the exit door in the mechanic shop, caution signage for a low overhead hazard, strain relief for a fan's flexible cord and a hazard warning label on ethylene glycol. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Proposed penalties for the serious violations total $79,200. Omega Protein produces omega-3 fish oil and specialty fish meal products. The company's headquarters are in Houston, Texas, and it has additional processing plants in Cameron and Abbeville, La., and Reedville, Va.

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

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Jackson office at 601-965-4606.

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.

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