Texas Plastics Plant Hit with $174K Fine for Safety and Health Violations

August 12, 2014

Plastic Systems LLC in El Paso, Texas, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 21 safety and health violations, including six repeat, for failing to develop adequate lockout/tagout procedures to control the unexpected startup of the company’s plastic injection molding machines. Proposed penalties total $174,240.

The inspection was conducted in February 2014 after a safety referral was made during a health inspection initiated under the Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program.

The six repeat violations, with a penalty of $112,860, were cited for failing to address specific lockout/tagout techniques for the servicing and maintenance of machinery and conduct annual inspections of these techniques and procedures. The employer failed to ensure workers had operable portable fire extinguishers and were trained to use them. Improper maintenance resulted in electrical hazards, including conductors with damaged insulation.

A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously has been 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. Plastic Systems was cited previously in a 2011 inspection at the El Paso facility.

The remaining 15 violations, including 11 serious with a penalty of $61,380, were cited for failure to ensure workers knew the type and magnitude of energy that needed lockout control; provide machine guarding on injection molding machines; maintain electrical components and equipment in a manner that complies with safety requirements; properly record injuries and illnesses; adequately distribute portable fire extinguishers; and replace damaged circuit breaker boxes.

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.

Plastic Systems, headquartered in Romeo, Mich., designs and manufactures plastic molded products and assemblies using plastic injection molding. The company, which employs about 80 workers at its El Paso location, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s El Paso area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: OSHA

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