US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Piping Technology and Products in
Houston for exposing workers to excessive noise levels, other safety hazards
HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Piping Technology and Products Inc. for one willful and nine serious violations following a health inspection that found workers exposed to excessive noise levels and other hazards at the company's Houston facility. Proposed penalties total $118,000.
"This is the not the first time Piping Technology and Products has jeopardized the safety of its workers," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "Employers have a responsibility to safeguard workers from hazards. Failing to adhere to OSHA's safety and health standards exposes workers to serious injuries and illnesses."
OSHA's Houston South Area Office initiated a health inspection at the company's facility on Holmes Road after receiving a referral following a safety inspection that OSHA conducted in June 2011, which resulted in fines totaling more than $1 million for willful and serious violations.
The willful violation now being cited is for failing to establish and maintain a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Some of the serious health violations include failing to ensure the use of hearing protection, ear plugs or ear muffs to prevent hearing loss; failing to perform a personal protective equipment assessment; failing to identify and evaluate respiratory hazards; failing to ensure emergency eye wash was used and showers were taken; and failing to properly label containers stored with chemicals. 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.
Based on the findings of the June 2011 inspection, OSHA placed Piping Technology in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
More information on noise hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/index.html.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PipingTech_315722579_0312_12.pdf.*
Piping Technology and Products 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 citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.