Safety Fines for Piping Technology

Friday, December 13, 2013 @ 04:12 PM gHale

Piping Technology and Products Inc. in Houston is facing $199,800 in fines for four repeat and three serious violations after a worker suffered and injury in June from being struck by a broken die piece on a mechanical press, according to officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The repeat violations, with a penalty of $185,500, were 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 faced previous citations for similar violations in 2011.

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The serious violations, with a penalty of $14,300, were 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 700 workers and manufactures pipe supports, clamps and expansion joints for chemical and oil refineries.

Twice inspected in 2011, the company received citations for 42 safety and health violations, including failing to guard the point of operations on band saws, shears and press brakes. The company underwent three inspections in 2013, independent of the current case, and received citations for willful and two serious violations including failing to provide machine guarding on two separate occasions and provide abatement documentation. Piping Technology is contesting all 2013 citations, while the 2011 cases reached settlement.

“Piping Technology and Products has again failed to protect its workers from hazards, and again a worker has been injured on the job. OSHA will not tolerate such disregard for workers’ safety,” said Mark Briggs, OSHA’s Houston South area director.

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