Safety Fines for Houston Manufacturer

Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 03:07 PM gHale

DeWalch Technologies Inc. is facing $85,400 in fines for 32 safety and health violations for exposing workers to amputation, electrical, noise and other workplace hazards at its manufacturing facility on Wynnwood Lane in Houston, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s Houston North Area Office began the inspection under its regional emphasis program on the manufacture of fabricated metal products.

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Six of the 25 serious violations were under the mechanical power press standard, including the lack of a properly functioning emergency stop button, improperly guarded foot pedal and presses, unmarked power press dies that lack appropriate information to operate the press and failing to conduct press inspections.

The remaining serious violations include failing to implement a hearing conservation program; secure hoisted loads; regulate compressed air to below 30 pounds per square inch to blow metal shavings; guard equipment; and implement a hazard communication program that includes employee training and proper labeling on chemicals. Violations under the electrical standard included obstructed access to overcurrent devices, no grounding pins on electrical cords and failing to ensure they closed unused openings in electrical equipment. 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.

Five of the seven other-than-serious violations fell under the electrical standard, including using multiple power strips instead of a permanent electrical outlet to power equipment; using flexible cords as a substitute for permanent wiring; failing to provide edge protection for electrical cords; and use a ground fault circuit interrupter for drinking fountains. The remaining violations include failing to secure mechanical power presses to the floor and legibly marking the rated load for a pallet jack. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

“This company failed to protect its workers from possible amputation, electrical and other safety and health hazards,” said David Doucet, OSHA’s area director in the Houston North office.

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