Boomerang Tube LLC is facing $468,000 in fines for six willful, nine serious and one other-than-serious violation at the company’s facility in Liberty, TX, where three employees suffered serious injuries within five months, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.
“This employer jeopardized the safety of its employees by failing to follow OSHA’s safety standards for energy control procedures and machine guarding,” said John Hermanson, OSHA’s regional administrator in Dallas. “It is very unfortunate that these workers were so seriously injured when the causes should have been prevented.”
An investigation initiated in June in response to a complaint from one of the injured employees that workers faced unsafe conditions while operating cranes and slitter, rolling and thread machines; performing service and maintenance work; and stacking and loading pipes in the yard and on trucks at the company’s work site on Farm to Market 3361.
In April, an employee suffered an injury after being caught in an operating machine and in May, a second employee was struck by a piece of steel and knocked into a 5-foot-10-inch concrete pit. In September, another employee suffered injury from becoming caught in machinery. All three ended up flown to a local hospital due to the severity of their injuries.
The willful violations were for failing to repair a damaged under-hung crane, which lifts and lowers materials; ensure the use of lockout/tagout procedures to control the energy sources of equipment; and provide the required machine guarding on the pipe manufacturing line. A willful violation is 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 repair defective hook latches on operating cranes; ensure the facility was clear of trip and fall hazards, such as providing a cover for an open pit; and failing to ensure that loads did not exceed the rated capacity of industrial trucks. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The other-than-serious violation was for failing to maintain required records of injuries and illnesses. 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.
Boomerang Tube employs 460 workers and specializes in tube manufacturing.