Metal Extruder Cited by OSHA; Fined $166,000 for 15 Safety Violations

October 21st, 2013 by DWM Magazine

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Extruders Inc., an aluminum extruder that makes door and window frames in Wylie, Texas, and division of Atrium Cos. Inc. for $166,000 in proposed penalties. The penalties are for 15 safety violations, including one willful, and for failing to protect workers from the inadvertent start-up of machinery during maintenance.

OSHA’s Dallas-area office began its March inspection of the company’s Hensley Lane location following complaints about safety hazards. The one willful safety violation was cited at $70,000 for failing to develop written procedures and make them available to workers. According to OSHA, 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.

“By failing to provide instructions on how to lockout and tagout service panels, Extruders exposed the workers to possible electrocution hazards,” says John Hermanson, OSHA’s regional administrator in Dallas. “It’s imperative that employers identify and correct potential hazards and uphold their responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace.”

The 14 serious violations cited include failing to ensure and verify a workplace hazard assessment; provide eye protection to workers with prescription eyeglasses; conduct periodic inspection of lockout/tagout operations; provide lockout/tagout training for affected workers; and ensure the use of specific shift change procedures to prevent serious injuries or fatalities. Other violations include failing to ensure machine guards; legibly mark disconnections of the electrical panel breakers; provide a way to lock an equipment’s means of disconnection in the open position; provide training on safe electrical work practices; ensure the de-energization of live electrical parts; ensure only qualified individuals work on electric circuit parts or equipment still energized; and provide workers with electrical protective equipment. The serious violations total $96,000 in citation costs. OSHA says 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.

Neither OSHA nor Extruders Inc. had responded to request for further comment at press time.

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