TX Valve Maker Hit with Safety Fines

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 @ 10:12 AM gHale

Workers at WNCO Valve International Inc. in Odessa, TX, faced dangers, such as struck-by flying objects, electrical shock and unguarded machinery, which could have caused death or serious injuries, including concussions, burns or amputations and as a result, the company is now facing a fine of $41,600 for 19 serious safety and health violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A valve manufacturing company, WNCO employs 15 workers. OSHA’s Lubbock Area Office began an inspection in June 2014 under the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Fabricated Metal Products, which focuses on machinery and hazards in the metal-fabrication industry that can cause harm or death.

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Some of the serious violations at the Odessa facility included failure to guard rotating parts on machinery; utilize proper electrical power strips to energize high-powered loads, such as a microwave oven and an air conditioner; properly securing machinery to the ground to prevent it from moving; and regularly inspecting overhead crane hooks and chains.

Additionally, the employer failed to fit test or medically evaluate employees working with spray-painting for respirators; ensure accessibility of safety data sheets to inform workers about the dangers of hazardous chemical products; and failed to train employees on paint chemical hazards. 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.

“WNCO Valve International failed to correct hazards and put employees’ lives at risk. That is unacceptable,” said Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA’s area director in Lubbock. “The employer is responsible for finding and fixing workplace hazards, and for protecting the health and safety of workers.”

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