TX Plastics Maker Faces Repeat Fines

Friday, August 15, 2014 @ 04:08 PM gHale

Plastic Systems LLC is facing $174,240 in fines for 21 safety and health violations, including six repeat, for failing to develop adequate lockout/tagout procedures to control the unexpected startup of the company’s plastic injection molding machines at its El Paso, TX, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s inspection occurred in February after a safety referral made during a health inspection initiated under the Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program.

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Plastic Systems, headquartered in Romeo, MI, designs and manufactures plastic molded products and assemblies using plastic injection molding. The company employs 80 workers at its El Paso location.

“Inspectors found workers at risk of potential injuries from preventable workplace hazards, including the unexpected startup of machinery during maintenance or servicing, the lack of machine guarding and electrical hazards,” said Joann Figueroa, OSHA’s area director in El Paso. “OSHA’s standards must be followed to keep workers safe.”

The six repeat violations, with a penalty of $112,860, were for failing to address specific lockout/tagout techniques for the servicing and maintenance of machinery and conduct annual inspections of these techniques and procedures.

The employer failed to ensure workers had operable portable fire extinguishers and had training to use them. Improper maintenance resulted in electrical hazards, including conductors with damaged insulation. A repeat violation occurs when an employer previously faced a citation 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. Plastic Systems faced previous citations in a 2011 inspection at the El Paso facility.

The remaining 15 violations, including 11 serious with a penalty of $61,380, were for failure to ensure workers knew the type and magnitude of energy that needed lockout control; provide machine guarding on injection molding machines; maintain electrical components and equipment in a manner that complies with safety requirements; properly record injuries and illnesses; adequately distribute portable fire extinguishers; and replace damaged circuit breaker boxes. 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.

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