Weimar, Texas, oil and gas industry manufacturer cited with 38 violations
by US Labor Department's OSHA for various workplace hazards
Utex Industries Inc. fined $143,000
WEIMAR, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Utex Industries Inc. for 38 safety and health violations, with a proposed fine of $143,000, for exposing workers to electrical, fire, machine guarding and health hazards at its Weimar manufacturing facility. The inspection was initiated in February under OSHA's Site Specific Targeting program that directs agency enforcement resources to high-hazard workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur.
"The proactive nature of the Site Specific Targeting program allows hazards to be discovered before any serious injuries occur, although we cannot stress enough the value of prevention," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Utex Industries has many serious risk factors for fire, explosion, hearing loss and chemical exposures that must be addressed to safeguard the workplace."
The serious safety violations include failing to guard machinery, provide a proper conduit for compressed air, ensure electrical equipment is approved for usage and ensure spray booths have fire prevention equipment. Additional safety violations include failing to keep flammable liquids in closed containers, prevent the accumulation of combustible dust, repair damaged pallet rack and properly repair and maintain forklifts. The serious health violations include failing to implement a hearing conservation program, provide proper eye and foot protection, provide chemical eyewash stations for workers exposed to corrosive chemicals and implement a hazardous chemical communication program. 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.
In addition, three other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to provide proper respirators, evaluate lead exposure and allow usage of a 120-volt electrical receptacle without reverse polarity. 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 seven-step guide, including references for electrical, chemical, hearing protection, forklift and machine guarding safety, can be found at https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/quickstarts/general_industry/index_gi.html.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/UtexIndustries_890856_0809_2013.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/UtexIndustries_890828_0809_2013.pdf*.
Utex Industries, which manufactures gaskets and seals for the oil and gas industry, employs more than 600 workers at the Weimar facility. Its headquarters is in Houston. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin, 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) or the agency's Austin office at 512-374-0271.
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.