Houston-Based Manufacturer Fined Nearly $200K for Safety Violations

December 16, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Piping Technology and Products Inc. in Houston for four repeat and three serious violations after a worker was injured in June from being struck by a broken die piece on a mechanical press. Proposed penalties total $199,800.

The repeat violations, with a penalty of $185,500, were cited for failing to guard punch presses and band saws, provide lockout/tagout training regarding energized sources and conduct an annual review of lockout/tagout procedures.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been previously cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was previously cited for similar violations in 2011.

The serious violations, with a penalty of $14,300, were cited for failing to secure a fuel gas cylinder, use undamaged slings for lifting and moving equipment and provide strain relief for electrical wiring.

A serious violation exists 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.

Piping Technology employs about 700 workers and manufactures pipe supports, clamps and expansion joints for chemical and oil refineries.

Twice inspected in 2011, the company was cited for 42 safety and health violations, including failing to guard the point of operations on band saws, shears and press brakes.

The company already has been inspected three times in 2013, independent of the current case, and cited for willful and two serious violations including failing to provide machine guarding on two separate occasions and provide abatement documentation. All 2013 citations have been contested while the 2011 cases are settled.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Houston South area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: OSHA


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