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“This company jeopardized the health of its workers by exposing them to respirable silica above OSHA’s established limits,” said Jeff Funke, Director of OSHA’s San Antonio Area Office.
OSHA’s San Antonio office initiated a safety and health inspection on November 8, 2010, at the company’s facility on Western Oak Drive and determined that employees were exposed to respirable crystalline silica particles while grinding, sanding and buffing countertop products such as natural granite, quartz and solid surfaces.
The agency alleges that the company failed to ensure levels of crystalline silica met safety standards, provide employees with required respiratory protection, determine that employees were medically fit to wear respiratory protection, follow proper procedures to lock out/tag out accidental energy start-up prior to servicing and performing maintenance on machinery, properly guard a table saw and cut off saw, and train employees on the use of hazardous chemicals. A serious citation is issued 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.
Venetian Marble & Granite, which employs about 45 workers who manufacture custom countertops for residential and commercial applications, was given 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in San Antonio or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.