Safety Fines Cut for Smith Pipe

Thursday, August 2, 2012 @ 06:08 PM gHale

Smith Pipe of Abilene, TX, will still have to pay a fine, but it will be a reduced amount, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

Originally, OSHA hit the company with a $129,800 fine, but the agency adjusted the proposed fine to $42,520, a 67 percent reduction. It also withdrew four of the 14 violations and changed five others from being “repeat violations” to “serious.”

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When it cited the company in early July, OSHA said Smith Pipe exposed workers to electrical, compressed gasses and amputation hazards among other things.

The charges followed an investigation by the agency’s El Paso Area Office that began in January. Smith Pipe protested several of the violations and an informal conference took place between OSHA and the company in Lubbock July 18. Two days later, an informal settlement, which contained the updated charges and fines, went out.

OSHA withdrew allegations pertaining to unsecured compressed gas cylinders; employees exposed to fire and explosion hazards; propane tanks not properly labeled, and others pertaining to other safety and hazardous issues.

The settlement agreement also indicated some fines reduced for violations. In addition, some violations lessened from “repeat violations” to “serious.”

Smith Pipe, according to the settlement, agreed to correct “the hazards identified in the citations,” and permit OSHA to inspect the plant anytime up until the end of August.

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