Tomball, Texas, manufacturer cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA
for 19 safety violations, workers exposed to various hazards
Pigs Unlimited International Inc. fined $58,100
TOMBALL, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pigs Unlimited International Inc., a foam and polyurethane pig manufacturer, for 19 safety violations that exposed workers to hazards, including impalement, struck-by and caught-by hazards, at its facility on FM 2978 in Tomball. The inspection, prompted by a complaint, began in July.
"This employer failed to protect its workers from a range of hazards, from potential amputation to chemical exposures and other safety hazards," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North Area Office. "The lack of preventive measures must be addressed and corrected to provide a safe working environment."
The 15 serious safety violations include failing to guard the point of operation on machines, shaft ends, belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets; ensure the use of appropriate eye or face protection from liquid chemical hazards; ensure all live parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more are guarded against possible contact; until repaired, ensure the removal of all damaged cords and plugs connected to equipment; determine each worker's exposure to methylene chloride, while also providing protective clothing and equipment resistant to methylene chloride; and ensure that workers are not exposed to airborne concentrations of methylene chloride in excess of 125 parts per million as determined during a 15-minute sampling period. 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 four other-than-serious violations include failing to train forklift operators, eliminate temporary wiring used in a prohibited manner, provide strain relief at the ends of flexible cords and implement a written hazard communications program. 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.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's 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), the agency's Houston North Area Office at 281-591-2438 or the Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583.
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.