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Houston-area factory cited for safety hazards

Houston manufacturers have access to a large pool of skilled workers able to carry out the many tasks necessary in making a business successful. In return for their hard work, employees ask for a decent wage and a safe working environment.

One Houston-area foam and polyurethane "pig" manufacturer was recently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to keep its work environment free of hazards that could cause serious worker injuries or illnesses.

Among the hazards at the Tomball, Texas, maker of foam "pigs" were dangers that could lead to impalement or struck-by incidents; there were also safety violations that could lead to workers being exposed to harmful chemicals, OSHA said.

The "pigs" made at the plant are not the kind found on farms, but are rather made of foam and are used to clean pipelines in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, mining, food and beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, among others.

The inspection of the Tomball pig-making factory began after OSHA received a complaint about potential safety violations. After the federal agency sent inspectors, it said it learned that the manufacturer's facility about 30 miles north of Houston "failed to protect its workers from a range of hazards, from potential amputation to chemical exposures and other safety hazards," according to an agency statement.

The company was cited for 15 safety violations deemed serious; a serious violation means OSHA believes there's a "substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard" that the company either knew about or should have been aware of.

The agency proposed fines of $58,100, which the company can appeal.

When a worker is injured in an industrial accident due to employer negligence, it's a good idea to discuss with an experienced attorney legal options that may exist regarding compensation.

Source: OSHA, "Tomball, Texas, manufacturer cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for 19 safety violations, workers exposed to various hazards Pigs Unlimited International Inc. fined $58,100," Nov. 14, 2013

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