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OSHA fines two businesses after worker’s heat-related death

Federal officials on Monday fined two businesses, one based in
Houston, after an investigation into a work-related death from heat
exposure.

                       

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced judgments
against BFI Waste Services of Texas, doing business as Republic
Services, Inc., and Recana Solutions, which provides them with temporary
day laborers.

 

                       

OSHA cited both companies for seven safety violations after a worker died from heat stress in June.

                       

Details about the incident, including the worker's name, were not available.

                       

"It is truly a matter of life and death that workers and employers
take proactive steps to stay safe in extreme heat and be aware of the
symptoms of heat exhaustion," said Mark Briggs, director of the agency's
south Houston office.

                       

OSHA officials said they cited Republic Services, Inc. for failing to
provide first aid training and protect workers from heat-stress
hazards. The company was fined $14,000 for both violations considered
"serious" by OSHA because of a substantial probability death or serious
injury could result, authorities said.

                       

OSHA also levied a $6,000 fine against the company, saying they
failed to report the temporary worker's death to the agency within eight
hours and didn't keep proper records about the incident.

                       

In a statement released later Monday, Republic Services said they
intend to contest the OSHA citation against them, saying it was
inaccurate.

                       

"Any loss of life is tragic, especially when it is avoidable. That is
precisely why we make safety our highest priority. We offer a
comprehensive safety program that includes heat exposure training,"
company officials said.

                                   

Recana Solutions, the temporary employment agency, was cited for a
single "serious" violation. The company was accused of failing to
protect workers from heat-stress hazards - a $7,000 fine. OSHA said the
company also failed to report the death to the federal agency within
eight hours and failed to provide personal protection equipment for
their workers.

                       

Officials with Recana Solutions couldn't be reached for comment later Monday.

                       

Total penalties for Republic Services are $20,000 while the fines for Recana Solutions total $13,000, OSHA officials said.

                       

The companies have 15 days to comply, request a conference with OSHA officials in Fort Worth or contest the citations.

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