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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.


Monday, December 19, 2011

$468,000 In OSHA Fines For Lack of LOTO and Machine Guarding

OSHA has cited Boomerang Tube LLC for six willful, nine serious and one other-than-serious violation at the company's facility in Liberty, where three employees were seriously injured within a period of five months. Proposed penalties total $468,000.

"This employer jeopardized the safety of its employees by failing to follow OSHA's safety standards for energy control procedures and machine guarding," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "It is very unfortunate that these workers were so seriously injured when the causes should have been prevented."

OSHA's Houston North Area Office began an investigation June 14 in response to a complaint from one of the injured employees that workers faced unsafe conditions while operating cranes and slitter, rolling and thread machines; performing service and maintenance work; and stacking and loading pipes in the yard and on trucks at the company's work site on Farm to Market 3361. In April, an employee was injured from becoming caught in an operating machine and in May, a second employee was struck by a piece of steel and knocked into a 5-foot-10-inch concrete pit. In September, another employee was injured from becoming caught in machinery. All three had to be flown to a local hospital due to the severity of their injuries.

The willful violations were cited for failing to repair a damaged under-hung crane, which lifts and lowers materials; ensure the use of lockout/tagout procedures to control the energy sources of equipment; and provide the required machine guarding on the pipe manufacturing line. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The serious violations include failing to repair defective hook latches on operating cranes; ensure the facility was clear of trip and fall hazards, such as providing a cover for an open pit; and failing to ensure that loads did not exceed the rated capacity of industrial trucks. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The other-than-serious violation was for failing to maintain required records of injuries and illnesses. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Boomerang Tube, which employs approximately 460 workers and specializes in tube manufacturing, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston North area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/boomerangtube_315610279_1214_11.pdf*.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), the agency's Houston North office at 281-591-2438 or its Houston South office at 281-286-0583.

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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