Metal Fabricator Faces Repeat Safety Fines

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 @ 05:12 PM gHale

Steel Fabrication Services Inc. is facing $135,880 in fines for 15 violations after it failed to correct hazardous conditions previously cited that could cause serious injury or death at its Farmers Branch, TX, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA began its follow-up inspection in May and found workers continually suffer exposure to amputation hazards.

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Steel Fabrication Services employs 24 workers who manufacture fabricated parts, weldments and finished products in carbon and stainless steel, aluminum and other materials.

The inspection began after the company failed to abate violations cited in February. OSHA inspectors found workers exposed to electric shock hazards, struck-by objects and crushed or caught in between heavy equipment and machinery.

“Steel Fabrication Services’ failure to correct hazardous conditions could have cost a life,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “Putting workers in danger is unacceptable. The employer has a legal and moral responsibility to fix these hazards immediately.”

OSHA’s Dallas Area Office cited Steel Fabrication Services for two willful violations, with a penalty of $77,000, for willfully exposing workers to crushing hazards by failing to guard a metal shear machine and provide forklift training. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The company is also facing two repeat violations, with a $7,920 penalty, for failing to guard horizontal drill presses and to keep oxygen cylinders separate from fuel gas cylinders. OSHA identified similar hazards during its February 2014 inspection.

Two citations carrying a $36,000 penalty were for the company’s failure to provide machine guards on drill presses at the point of operation. Called failure-to-abate notices, these citations occur when a condition, hazard or practice found upon reinspection remains uncorrected.

In addition, the agency issued eight citations for serious violations, including employee exposure to welding rays; failure to label hazardous chemicals; and failure to guard horizontal shafts, belts, pulleys, bench grinders and points of operation. 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. Fines for the serious citations total $14,520. OSHA also cited and fined the company $440 for not maintaining required injury and illness records on OSHA 300 logs.

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