US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Wheels America in Schertz, Texas,
for exposing workers to multiple safety hazards
SCHERTZ, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wheels America San Antonio I Ltd., doing business as Wheels America in Schertz, for 10 serious and one repeat violation for exposing workers to potential eye injuries and combustible dust hazards, among others. Proposed penalties total $45,000.
OSHA inspectors found that workers at the company's site on Bell North Drive in Schertz were repairing vehicle wheels using welding equipment that was not properly guarded and without the use of required personal protective equipment, such as goggles. Both hazards were cited as serious violations.
Additional serious violations involved failing to control fire hazards associated with powder-coating operations by maintaining ventilation in the spray booth, ensure that electrical cords were safely used, and keep the work site clean and sanitary. 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.
The repeat violation involved failing to provide covers for boxes containing live electrical conductors. 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. Wheels America was cited for similar violations at its Sherwood Lane facility in Houston in 2007.
"This company exposed its employees to workplace hazards that could cause severe injuries or even death," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Failing to protect workers is unacceptable and OSHA will not tolerate it."
The company, which repairs tire rims by welding, grinding and powder-coating them, 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 its Austin Area 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 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, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.