A Sweetwater, Texas aluminum refining company that produces secondary ingot, slab and sow, Texas TST Inc., has been cited by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 13 violations, after an intensive inspection showed that the company was exposing workers to a number of hazards that could lead to serious injuries or even fatalities on the part of workers.
The inspection was initiated as part of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which more closely examines those industries that experience high injury and illness rates. Inspectors found that the facility had failed to secure compressed gas cylinders, which can lead to struck-by hazards. They also noted that the employer failed to provide strain relief on electrical circuits, which could lead to electoral hazards to workers, and that they had failed to repair damaged welding cables, which could lead to serious worker injuries.
OSHA inspectors also found that Texas TST Inc. had failed to either enclose or guard sprockets and chains that were located seven feet or less from the floor, which could result in workers being struck in the head. Several machines and grinders were also left unguarded, which could result in workers being hit with aluminum metal chips. Unfortunately, OSHA regulations such as these are commonly violated by employers.
The 13 violations were deemed “serious violations,” which are violations in which there is “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.” OSHA released a statement in which they noted that “making the necessary changes to comply with OSHA standards can mean the difference between life and death. … This employer did not take the steps necessary to keep workers safe during the performance of their daily duties.”
According to the OSHA announcement, Texas TST Inc faces $47,600 in proposed penalties, but could also face serious liability for any death or injury resulting from the company’s failure to provide a safe workplace for their workers. Guarding machines and protecting workers from electrical and struck-by hazards should be routine in every workplace. Employers have an absolute duty to prevent injury to workers while they are on the job.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed on the job because an employer did not take adequate safety protections, contact the at Hill Law Firm for a free consultation as soon as possible.