OSHA launches investigation into Fiesta Mart after 2 butchers suffer from amputation injuries

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 16: People shop in Fiesta supermarket on February 16, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather, power outages and traffic accidents to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images) (Go Nakamura, 2021 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into Fiesta Mart LLC after two butchers suffered from amputation injuries due to unguarded machinery, according to a release.

The Houston-based supermarket operator has a history of violations and worker injuries that date back nearly a decade, according to OSHA. The supermarket is accused of failing in its legal obligations to protect its employees.

Federal inspections revealed that two butchers suffered fingertip amputations while using band saws to cut meat at the chain’s supermarkets on Ross Avenue in Dallas on Feb. 18, and on Parker Road in Plano on May 23. Both incidents were due to unguarded machinery, according to OSHA.

OSHA inspections dating back to 2015, found the chain repeatedly exposed meat department employees to amputation hazards. In 2018, workers at two stores in Garland and Plano suffered similar injuries, according to the release.

In the most recent inspections, OSHA cited the company for seven willful violations for failing to guard machinery, and proposed $1,015,189 in penalties. The latest infractions mark the 13th time in nine years that OSHA has cited Fiesta Mart for failing to guard band saws, the release stated.

“Despite painful and permanent injuries suffered by a half dozen of its employees since 2015, Fiesta Mart repeatedly ignores required safety standards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric S. Harbin in Dallas. “The company now faces penalties of more than $1 million for their disregard of the law. Fiesta Mart must change the way it operates before more workers suffer serious injury.”

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