Brownsville, Texas, employer cited by US Department of Labor for failing to
monitor asbestos exposure and correct previously cited hazard
National Electric Coil Co. fined $120,000 for 8 safety violations
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited National Electric Coil Co. LP in Brownsville with eight safety violations, including one willful and one repeat violation, with proposed penalties totaling $120,000. The company was cited for failing to monitor asbestos exposure and provide adequate procedures to control hazardous energy sources.
The complaint inspection, which began in January, was conducted by OSHA's Corpus Christi Area Office. The willful violation, with a $55,000 penalty, was cited for failing to perform initial monitoring prior to workers being exposed to asbestos. 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.
The repeat violation, with a penalty of $35,000, was cited for failing to develop and implement adequate lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy sources from cure presses and other equipment. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited 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. A similar violation was cited in May 2010.
Four of the six serious violations involve asbestos hazards, including the company's failing to select appropriate respirators, provide appropriate work clothing or protective equipment, provide an asbestos exposure assessment system and utilize wet methods for cleaning asbestos materials. The other two serious violations involve exposing workers to struck-by and crushing hazards from using a boom lift extension on a powered industrial truck that had not been secured with a pin to ensure stability. The serious violation fines total $30,000. 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.
"By failing to monitor asbestos exposure, National Electric Coil Co. puts its workers in harm's way by exposing them to a variety of health issues. That negligence for worker safety and health will not be tolerated, and OSHA will hold this employer accountable," said Michael Rivera, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/NationalElectricCoilCoLP_849443_0625_13.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/NationalElectricCoilCoLP_841403_0625_13.pdf*.
National Electric Coil produces high-voltage coils and bars for turbine generators, hydrogenerators and high-voltage motors. It employs about 167 workers in Brownsville and another 377 workers nationwide. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the area director or contest the findings 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) or the agency's Corpus Christi office at 361-888-3420.
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 exist 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.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.