Western Extrusions Corp. is facing $212,000 in fines for two willful and 13 serious violations for exposing workers to a variety of safety and health hazards at its aluminum products manufacturing facility in Carrollton, TX, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.
OSHA’s Dallas Area Office initiated an inspection Nov. 17 at the company’s facility under the agency’s National Emphasis Program for Amputations.
“This company has a history of failing to implement effective safety measures, such as lockout/tagout procedures, to prevent employees from coming in contact with moving machine parts during servicing and setup,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “Employers have a responsibility to provide safe and healthful workplaces for their workers.”
The willful violations involve failing to implement lockout/tagout procedures for machines’ energy sources to protect workers performing maintenance and setup activities, and provide guarding on press brakes. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The serious violations include failing to guard open-sided floors and platforms, provide personal protective equipment, properly label hazardous chemicals, ensure that isolation and de-energization procedures are followed, remove damaged synthetic web slings from service, provide guards around rotating and moving parts of machinery, establish die-setting procedures for mechanical power presses, guard chains and sprockets, provide hepatitis B vaccinations to workers and provide training on bloodborne pathogens. 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.
Because of the willful violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA placed Western Extrusions, which employs 900 workers, in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.