OSHA Cites Piping Company for Exposing Workers to Safety Hazards

Dec. 2, 2004
OSHA has issued citations and proposed penalties of $82,500 to Piping Technology and Products Inc. in Houston for allegedly exposing workers to a variety of workplace hazards.

Piping Technology, which employs about 400 workers and produces piping accessories, received citations from OSHA for one alleged willful, nine alleged serious and two alleged repeat violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. OSHA's investigation began July 7 in response to a complaint.

"OSHA is committed to reducing workplace injuries and illnesses and to protect the safety of all workers," said Chuck Williams, OSHA area director in Houston. "OSHA investigators found a number of violations and this employer has a history of 16 previous OSHA inspections dating back to 1985."

The alleged willful citation was issued for failure to protect workers and others from exposure to welding rays through the use of screens or shields. A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the OSHA law and regulations.

The nine alleged serious violations include failing to provide fall protection to employees operating an aerial lift; failing to provide explosion-proof wiring within 20 feet of paint spraying areas; failing to provide eye protection when exposed to flying particle hazards; and exposing workers to live electrical parts. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two alleged repeat violations were cited for failing to remove damaged slings from the work area and failing to protect employees through the use of machine guards. Repeat violations are those where the employer has been previously cited for a substantially similar condition within the past 3 years.

Piping Technology has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Houston OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). Upon review by OSHA or the OSHRC, the fines could be reduced and the citations reclassified.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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