Regulators Propose $105K Fine for Hazards at Texas Facility

May 11, 2012

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, Texas, facility to multiple safety hazards, including amputation dangers. Proposed penalties total $105,000.

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.

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.

Source: OSHA

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