OSHA slapped Tortilleria Atofonilco, Inc., Chicago, with $163,350 in proposed fines following its investigation into a formal complaint about a worker who suffered an amputation injury on May 1, 2004.

A willful health citation was issued for exposing workers to noise levels in excess of federal standards and failure to provide hearing protection, training and baseline audiograms to test for possible hearing loss. Willful safety violations include the failure of Tortilleria Atofonilco to ensure that maintenance workers were protected against accidental energizing of machines, a problem that has resulted in amputations on several occasions at the plant, according to an OSHA statement.

The company employs some 100 workers at the Chicago location and more than 175 company-wide. Two previous OSHA inspections in April and June 2000 resulted in serious violations in hearing conservation, machine guarding failures, and lockout/tagout deficiencies.