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Region 6 News Release: 12-897-DAL
May 7, 2012
Contact: Elizabeth Todd      Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710      972-850-4709
Email: todd.elizabeth@dol.gov      rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites AWC Frac Valves for exposing
workers to multiple safety hazards at Conroe, Texas, facility

CONROE, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Houston-based AWC Frac Valves Inc. with one willful, six serious and four other-than-serious violations for exposing workers at the company's Conroe facility to multiple safety hazards, including amputation dangers. Proposed penalties total $105,000 following an inspection initiated on Nov. 8, 2011, by OSHA's Houston North Area Office.

"This company exposed its workers to possible amputation hazards by failing to guard the moving parts of machinery and lock out energized electrical circuits while assembling hydraulic frac valves," said David Doucet, OSHA's Houston North area director. "OSHA's standards must be followed to prevent accidents and injuries."

The willful violation is failing to provide the required machine guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with moving machinery parts such as vertical and manual lathes. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The serious violations include failing to ensure that working surfaces are clear of trash and debris; provide a lockout/tagout program for machines' energy sources when they are being set up for production; and properly guard pulleys, belts and live electrical circuits. 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 other-than-serious violations include failing to properly maintain the required injury and illness logs, and adequately close openings on electrical equipment. 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 citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AWCFracValvesInc_316065176_0507_12.pdf*.

AWC Frac Valves employs about 100 workers in Conroe who fabricate high-pressure hydraulic fracturing valves for the oil and gas industry. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston North 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), the agency's Houston North office at 281-591-2438 or its Houston South 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.

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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.


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