Dec. 1, 2014
Workers exposed to unguarded machinery, struck-by hazards
and electrical shock at valve manufacturing facility
WNCO Valve International Inc. in Odessa, Texas, cited for 19 violations; fined $41,600
ODESSA, Texas – A recent inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that workers at WNCO Valve International Inc. in Odessa faced dangers, such as struck-by flying objects, electrical shock and unguarded machinery, which could have caused death or serious injuries, including concussions, burns or amputations. As a result, OSHA cited the employer for 19 serious safety and health violations, with a proposed fine of $41,600.
OSHA's Lubbock Area Office began an inspection in June 2014 under the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on Fabricated Metal Products*, which focuses on machinery and hazards in the metal-fabrication industry that can cause harm or death.
Some of the serious violations included failure to guard rotating parts on machinery; utilize proper electrical power strips to energize high-powered loads, such as a microwave oven and an air conditioner; properly securing machinery to the ground to prevent it from moving; and regularly inspecting overhead crane hooks and chains.
Additionally, the employer failed to fit test or medically evaluate spray-painting employees for respirators; ensure accessibility of safety data sheets to inform workers about the dangers of hazardous chemical products; and failed to train employees on paint chemical hazards. 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.
"WNCO Valve International failed to correct hazards and put employees' lives at risk. That is unacceptable," said Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA's area director in Lubbock. "The employer is responsible for finding and fixing workplace hazards, and for protecting the health and safety of workers."
A valve manufacturing company, WNCO employs about 15 workers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, 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 Lubbock District Office at 806-472-7681.
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.
Release Number: 14-2118-DAL
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