A 31-year-old worker was the second person killed in a year at Madden Bolt Corp. when a cutting-table explosion in August 2014 hurled the employee and a steel plate into the air. In September 2013, a forklift driver at Madden Bolt died after the machine turned over and pinned him underneath.
The plate then landed on the fallen worker, according to OSHA investigators. As a result, OSHA has cited the Houston-based employer for 10 alleged serious violations. Madden Bolt specializes in manufacturing bolts, custom steel plate products and assemblies, and employs about 130 workers.
"When an employee is killed by a preventable workplace hazard, this is no accident. It means the employer failed to protect workers from dangers that can cause injury, illness or, in this case, another needless death," said Josh Flesher, acting area director for OSHA's Houston North Area Office.
The inspection that followed the August explosion found alleged serious violations that include failing to: ensure that the air and gas concentration in the cutting table did not accumulate to create an explosion; protect fuel cylinders from damage; place safety guards on band saws and a pipe press that exposed workers to being caught in the machinery; cover live electrical parts on equipment; and outline proper procedures to shut down equipment while performing maintenance.
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.
OSHA has proposed fines totaling $44,800. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with Flesher or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.