Plant owner involved in worker’s death jailed on other charges

by on August 13, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

A Brooklyn, NY, tortilla-plant owner was sentenced to 90 day in jail for a series of labor-law violations.

Erasmo Ponce of Tortilleria Chinantla came to the attention of state investigators after a January 2011 tragedy. Juan Baten, 22, who had worked at the factory for six years, was killed in a dough-mixing machine after the equipment started up while he was inside performing maintenance.

OSHA cited the company for a willful violation because it failed to have proper guarding on the equipment. The company settled with OSHA.

In a separate case, Ponce pled guilty to failing to pay workers compensation and other payroll violations. He initially faced 26 felony counts.

His plant was temporarily shut down, then reopened in July 2012. OSHA cited it for safety violations after the reopening.

Lesson: Accidents often happen in environments where there are lots of problems. If operations are getting sloppy in one area, that’s probably a sign safety is slipping, too.

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