Houston, Texas, plastic bag manufacturer cited by US Labor Department's
OSHA for exposing workers to amputation, electrical and noise hazards
Evergreen Plastics Inc. cited for 17 violations and a proposed penalty of $60,200
HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Evergreen Plastics Inc. in Houston with 17 violations after two separate safety and health inspections were conducted in July 2013. The proposed penalty totals $60,200.
The safety inspection, which resulted in $44,800 in fines, was conducted under OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Amputations. Twelve serious safety violations were cited for failing to establish an energy control program system consisting of training, procedures and periodic inspections to ensure that during maintenance the equipment does not unexpectedly startup, energize or release stored energy. The company was also cited for failing to: provide railings on exposed stairways and stair platforms; guard various machine parts including fan blades, pulleys and gears exposing workers to amputation hazards and live electrical parts operating at 50 volts or more; protect conductors entering boxes, cabinets or fittings from abrasions; and substituting fixed wiring for flexible cords and cables. 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.
"It is imperative for Evergreen Plastics Inc. to find and fix its hazards while also developing and maintaining an effective prevention program," said Mark Briggs, area director in OSHA's Houston South area office. "OSHA will not tolerate an employer compromising the safety and health of its workers."
An other-than-serious safety violation was cited for failing to maintain the OSHA 300 logs for recording injuries and illnesses for five years. 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.
A subsequent health inspection, which resulted in four serious citations with fines of $15,400, found workers were exposed to noise and chemical hazards. The violations cited include failing to: administer a continuing, effective hearing conservation program; provide personal protective equipment for the eyes, hands and skin of workers handling corrosive substances; perform a hazard assessment as to what necessitates the use of personal protective equipment and provide suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body for workers exposed to corrosive materials.
Evergreen Plastics manufactures plastic shopping bags for retailers and employs about 33 workers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the current citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston South area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
More information on OSHA's record-keeping requirements is available at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/. OSHA injury and illness forms, including 300 logs, are available in fillable PDF format at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/RKforms.html.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), the agency's Houston South office at 281-286-0583 or its Houston North office at 281-591-2438.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.