US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Wenco Energy with repeat and serious
violations based on follow-up inspection at Tulsa, Okla., plant
Workers exposed to unguarded saws, other hazards; proposed fines exceed $167,000
TULSA, Okla. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wenco Energy Corp. in Tulsa with 23 serious and eight repeat safety and health violations, including exposure to unguarded saws and sanders, at the company's East 56th Street manufacturing facility. OSHA initiated an inspection in February as a follow-up to a September 2010 inspection that was conducted after a worker was killed at the facility. Proposed penalties total $167,090.
"By failing to provide required machine guarding and correct other deficiencies, Wenco Energy continues to risk serious injury to workers, including amputations," said David Bates, OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City. "In this case, it is fortunate that no one else has been injured."
Serious safety violations include failing to lock out the energy sources of machinery during servicing and maintenance, ensure the safe operation of a forklift, provide required machine guarding on equipment such as horizontal band saws and vertical belt sanders, ensure exits are unobstructed and that electrical cords are not exposed in order to prevent shocks or electrocution. Serious health violations include failing to provide personal protective equipment for workers' eyes, hands and feet; provide eyewash stations; and properly store compressed gas cylinders. 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.
Repeat safety violations include failing to guard machines, train workers on the safe operation of forklifts, ensure that the manufacturer's guidelines are followed when making repairs on forklifts and properly label electrical circuit breakers. A repeat health violation is failing to develop a hazard assessment for personal protective 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. OSHA cited similar violations based on the 2010 inspection.
The current citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WencoEnergyCorporation_316238088_0828_12_Safety.pdf*.
Wenco Energy, which employs about 32 workers, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Oklahoma City Area Office 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 Oklahoma City office at 405-278-9560.
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 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.