AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations with proposed penalties totaling $149,100 to Texas Linen Co. Ltd. in Austin, Texas, for one willful, 43 alleged serious and one other-than-serious safety violations.
“This company failed to protect its employees from workplace hazards, which could have caused illness and injuries,” says Eric Harbin, OSHA’s area director in Austin. “It is critical that employers follow OSHA’s standards to provide a safe and healthful working environment. Fortunately, no one was injured in this case.”
Following an inspection that began on Feb. 21 at the company’s worksite on Smith Road in Austin, OSHA issued Texas Linen Co. a willful violation for failing to provide the Hepatitis B vaccination to employees within 10 days of being assigned to handle soiled healthcare linens. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The 43 serious citations included failing to correct electrical hazards, provide machine guarding for power transmission devices, protect employees from exposure to blood-borne pathogens while handling contaminated healthcare linens and provide sanitary working conditions. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result when the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Texas Linen Co. has contested the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.