Houston Manufacturer Settles OSHA Citations

October 18, 2004

Houston-based Goodman Manufacturing Co., L.P., has reportedly agreed to strengthen the company’s safety and health program at its two manufacturing sites and pay $277,000 in penalties for citations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the wake of an April accident in which an employee lost an arm.

“Incidents like these can be avoided if safety and health standards are followed,” said John Henshaw, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “The corrective actions taken thus far by Goodman Manufacturing Co. are an indication the company is committed to preventing similar tragedies in the future. More work is planned and OSHA will continue to work with Goodman Manufacturing to assure the commitment to protect workers is sustained and realized.”

OSHA’s Houston North area office began its investigation April 23 in response to a complaint, and subsequently learned that an employee’s arm had been amputated in a mechanical power press. The company, which employs about 3,100 workers at its two Houston facilities known as the “Cooling Plant” and “Furnace Plant,” was cited with 62 alleged serious, 11 alleged repeat and 10 alleged other violations of safety standards.

Alleged serious violations included failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures to ensure that machinery is not accidentally energized during repair or maintenance operations; failure to provide training on powered industrial trucks; failure to inspect the mechanical power press; not providing personal protective equipment; not providing a means of egress, and improper storage of flammable and combustible liquids. Alleged repeat violations included failure to provide medical evaluations for respiratory protection, inadequate respiratory protection and unguarded electrical devices.

In response to the OSHA investigation, Goodman Manufacturing reportedly took immediate steps to safeguard workers and has invested more than $2 million to improve equipment and processes for the long-term safety of its employees. OSHA reduced its original proposed penalty of $469,700 to $277,000, acknowledging the company’s positive steps.

Goodman Manufacturing has reportedly begun correcting all citation items and agreed to establish an effective safety and health program with sufficient resources for the effort, including a full time certified safety and health professional.

The company also will strengthen employee training and will conduct comprehensive safety and health audits at each of the facilities. A comprehensive energy control program will be established to fully comply with OSHA lockout/tagout standards.

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