El Milagro of Texas tortilla factory faces $218K in fines; cited for repeatedly exposing workers to amputation dangers

Sierra Martin | Managing Editor

SAN MARCOS, TX – A family-owned tortilla factory located in San Marcos, El Milagro of Texas Inc., is facing 218K in fines after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the company exposed workers to the risks of amputation and other serious injuries. In the past El Milagra, located on 400 Barnes Drive off of I-35, has faced complaints by members of the community about a strong smell produced by the factory.

According to OSHA’s report, worker complaints of dangerous amputation hazards led OSHA to again investigate conditions at El Milagro of Texas Inc. and the agency’s inspectors determined that the company once again failed to follow hazardous energy control procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or movement during maintenance and servicing. As a result, inspectors cited El Milagro for three repeat violations related to energy control and four serious violations for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures.

OSHA also cited the company for a repeat violation for failing to fit-test workers using respirators, and a serious violation for not performing medical evaluations for respirator use. The agency has proposed $218,839 in fines. OSHA cited the company for the same violations in 2015 and 2018.

“More than half of workplace amputations involve some type of machinery, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Energy control and lockout/tagout procedures are vital to protecting workers in manufacturing facilities,” said OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin, Texas. “OSHA will hold employers accountable when they fail to comply with requirements to prevent worker exposure to dangerous hazards.”

According to OSHA, El Milagro of Texas has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.

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