OSHA Cites U.S. Minerals Again for Safety Violations at Illinois Plant

Company has been cited five times for violations and placed in enforcement program for severe violators.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued seven citations to the U.S. Minerals LLC facility in Baldwin, Ill., for allegedly failing to develop and implement procedures to control hazardous energy, install guard rails where needed and maintain equipment.

Penalties total $83,000 for the citations, one of which is a 'willful' citation. OSHA describes a willful violation as one that exists as a result of an employer's "intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health."

The citations emerged following an inspection that began in September 2010.

This is the second time the Baldwin facility has been cited by OSHA in less than a year. In September 2010 the government agency issued penalties totaling $466,400 for 35 alleged health and safety violations, including willfully exposing workers to dangerously high levels of hazardous dust and failing to provide adequate breathing protection.

"U.S. Minerals' failure to develop and implement plans to control hazardous energy and prevent injuries to workers is simply unacceptable," said Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria, Ill., following the most recent citations. "U.S. Minerals repeatedly has been cited at this facility and others for failing to follow OSHA safety and health standards to protect workers."

As a result of the alleged conditions at the Baldwin plant last summer, OSHA initiated inspections at the Dyer, Ind.-based manufacturers three other locations, where it issued 28 citations for U.S. Minerals' Coffeen, Ill., location; 30 citations for its Harvey, La., location; and 38 violations for its Galveston, Texas, facility.

Fines for citations at those three locations totaled more than $779,000.

OSHA also placed U.S. Minerals in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in December 2010. As the program's title suggests, it focuses on employers with a history of safety violations that endanger workers "by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law," OSHA states.

The program mandates follow-up inspections by OSHA.

With regard to the most recent alleged violations, the company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request a conference with OSHAs area director or contest the findings.

See also:

OSHA Withdraws Noise Proposal

OSHA Fines Gun Powder Manufacturer $1.2 Million After Deadly Explosion

OSHA Chief Calls for Support of Proposed Injury Prevention Reg

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