Safety Alert: Manufacturers Fined for Violations

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 11:02 AM gHale

One manufacturer in Wisconsin and one in Texas are facing fines for safety violations, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials (OSHA).

Fall River Foundry is facing fines of $57,600 for 10 safety violations, including failure to protect workers from exposure to metal dust at its brass foundry in Fall River, WI.

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This is a repeat of violations for exposing workers to elevated amounts of copper and lead dust, OSHA said. In addition, the company also failed to install adequate safety controls to reduce exposure, OSHA said. Fall River is in Columbia County, about 30 miles northeast of Madison.

Meanwhile, Vann Energy Services LLC is facing $17,200 in fines for 17 serious violations after a safety and health inspection at the company’s maintenance facility in Nixon, TX.

OSHA began its inspection on Aug. 19, 2011, after receiving a complaint saying employees had to enter oil field hydraulic fracturing tanks for cleaning without receiving precautions about confined space atmospheric hazards. Vann Energy provides trucking and oil field support services, including cleaning fracturing tanks.

Serious health violations include failing to implement a permit-required confined space entry program; provide proper respiratory protection; provide personal protective equipment, such as chemical-impervious gloves and footwear; and provide first-aid services and chemical hazard training. Serious safety violations include failing to provide approved electrical systems for lighting at night; ensure electrical equipment, such as fans, had approval for hazardous locations; provide covers over open pits; and maintain electrical conductors and cords in a safe operating condition. 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.

“Vann Energy Services required workers to enter a fracturing tank for cleaning without testing the atmospheric hazards first and without training the workers on confined space hazards,” said Casey Perkins, director of OSHA’s Austin Area Office. “Confined space and electrical hazards like the ones found at this site can kill workers. It is fortunate these hazards were identified before anyone was seriously injured.”

Vann Energy employs about 20 workers at the Nixon facility.

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