Asbestos Exposure Brings Safety Fines

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 @ 10:07 AM gHale

National Electric Coil Co. LP in Brownsville, TX, is facing $120,000 in fines for eight safety violations, including one willful and one repeat violation for failing to monitor asbestos exposure and provide adequate procedures to control hazardous energy sources, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The complaint inspection started in January by OSHA’s Corpus Christi Area Office. The willful violation, with a $55,000 penalty, was for failing to perform initial monitoring prior to workers suffering exposure to asbestos. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

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The repeat violation, with a penalty of $35,000, was for failing to develop and implement adequate lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy sources from cure presses and other equipment. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations 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. A similar violation occurred in May 2010.

Four of the six serious violations involve asbestos hazards, including the company’s failing to select appropriate respirators, provide appropriate work clothing or protective equipment, provide an asbestos exposure assessment system and utilize wet methods for cleaning asbestos materials.

Two other two serious violations involve exposing workers to struck-by and crushing hazards from using a boom lift extension on a powered industrial truck not secured with a pin to ensure stability. The serious violation fines total $30,000. 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.

“By failing to monitor asbestos exposure, National Electric Coil Co. puts its workers in harm’s way by exposing them to a variety of health issues. That negligence for worker safety and health will not be tolerated, and OSHA will hold this employer accountable,” said Michael Rivera, OSHA’s area director in Corpus Christi.

National Electric Coil produces high-voltage coils and bars for turbine generators, hydrogenerators and high-voltage motors. It employs about 167 workers in Brownsville and another 377 workers nationwide.

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