The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Houston-based O’Brien Wire Products of Texas Inc. for five serious, two repeat, three other-than-serious and two failure-to-abate violations for exposing employees to workplace safety and health hazards. Proposed penalties total $159,390.
OSHA’s Houston South Area Office initiated a safety and health inspection Nov. 18, 2010, at the company’s facility on Gulfton Street for failing to take agreed-upon corrective actions to abate hazards cited during a June 2007 investigation.
The agreement required the company to report, on a quarterly basis, its progress in abating the hazards on wire tie machines that exposed workers to the hazards of unguarded chains and sprockets.
OSHA granted the company an 18-month extension to correct the deficiencies, but after reporting that several machines were repaired, the company ceased to submit quarterly progress reports. Consequently, OSHA conducted this follow-up inspection, discovering failure-to-abate violations for not correcting the machine guarding hazards previously cited in 2007.
The serious violations include failing to remove damaged fiberglass ladders, replace a defective safety latch on a crane hook and ensure the measurement of noise levels.
Repeat violations include failing to provide the required machine guarding for belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets.
Other-than-serious violations include failing to provide a door on a restroom and hand-washing facilities.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Houston South area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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