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Marshall Pottery releases statement on working with OSHA, employee's death

Updated: Nov. 16, 2017 at 12:01 PM CST
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MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - As an East Texas business works with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Marshall Pottery officials have released a statement on their progress.

Earlier this year, Arturo Gonzales died when attempting to perform maintenance to a 300-foot kiln.

In October, Marshall Pottery was fined with 31 violations, totaling $829,891. Some violations include respiratory protection, portable fire extinguishers, occupational noise exposure, permit-required confined spaces, unsafe scaffolding, among others.

As of Nov. 1, the two inspection lists (here and here) total 39 violations with a grand total of $545,160 in fines.

Below is a statement from Morris Jones, Marshall Pottery's HR Manager:

On Sunday April 16, 2017, an industrial accident at Marshall Pottery, Inc.'s Marshall, Texas plant resulted in the loss of a cherished and invaluable member of our team.

As a result of this tragic occurrence, a comprehensive internal investigation was undertaken by Marshall Pottery and a formal OSHA  investigation was completed. These investigations took place over the course of several months and identified  areas in which improvements were necessary.

At the conclusion of the initial investigations, and prior to restarting operations, Marshall Pottery worked with teams of safety professionals and contractors to make all of the improvements that were identified as necessary. Marshall Pottery also provided comprehensive safety-related training to its representatives and employees. Marshall Pottery proceeded to an Informal Conference with the OSHA Area Director on October 24, 2017.

At that time, Marshall Pottery conveyed its gratitude to OSHA for the comprehensiveness of the OSHA investigation and the significant investment of time and resources that OSHA's investigating officers and directors afforded Marshall Pottery. Marshall Pottery also presented OSHA with extensive documentation that evidenced Marshall Pottery's abatement of the hazards that were identified during the investigations, and documentation evidencing the implementation and enforcement of a comprehensive and energetic safety program. Marshall Pottery then entered into a settlement agreement with OSHA that called for a significant reduction of the proposed penalties.

Marshall Pottery has been a part of the East Texas community for more than 100 years. Marshall Pottery has the distinction of being the largest manufacturer of terra cotta pottery in the United States of America, and Marshall Pottery has employed hundreds of local residents in gaining and maintaining this distinction.

Marshall Pottery remains committed to providing employment to as many members of our community as possible, and Marshall Pottery is more committed than ever to providing its employees with a place of employment that is free of hazards.

Gonzales' family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Marshall Pottery.

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