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CORRECTION: Houston co.'s proposed fine less than reported

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
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We want to correct an error in a report we ran Wednesday about a Houston manufacturer.

We reported an incorrect amount of fines that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommended for 32 safety violations at DeWalch Technologies. The proposed fines total $85,400 not $500,000 as we previously reported. We apologize for the error. A company official elected not to comment.

OSHA has given the company 15 days to comply or request a conference.

Below is the full labor department's news release:

    HOUSTON The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited DeWalch Technologies Inc. with 32 safety and health violations. The proposed fines total $85,400 for exposing workers to amputation, electrical, noise and other workplace hazards at its manufacturing facility on Wynnwood Lane in Houston. OSHA's Houston North Area Office began the inspection under its regional emphasis program on the manufacture of fabricated metal products. Six of the 25 serious violations were cited under the mechanical power press standard, including the lack of a properly functioning emergency stop button, improperly guarded foot pedal and presses, unmarked power press dies that lack appropriate information to operate the press and failing to conduct press inspections.

    The remaining serious violations include failing to implement a hearing conservation program; secure hoisted loads; regulate compressed air to below 30 pounds per square inch to blow metal shavings; guard equipment; and implement a hazard communication program that includes employee training and proper labeling on chemicals. Violations under the electrical standard were also cited, including obstructed access to overcurrent devices, no grounding pins on electrical cords and failing to ensure unused openings in electrical equipment were closed. 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.

    Five of the seven other-than-serious violations were cited under the electrical standard, including using multiple power strips instead of a permanent electrical outlet to power equipment; using flexible cords as a substitute for permanent wiring; failing to provide edge protection for electrical cords; and use a ground fault circuit interrupter for drinking fountains. The remaining violations include failing to secure mechanical power presses to the floor and legibly marking the rated load for a pallet jack. 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.

    "This company failed to protect its workers from possible amputation, electrical and other safety and health hazards," said David Doucet, OSHA's area director in the Houston North office. The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston North area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA, (6742) the agency's Houston North Area Office at 281-591-2438, or the Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583.

    Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions exist for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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