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Pipeline Pig Maker Gets 19 Citations

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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Methylene chloride exposures, impalement and amputation dangers, and other alleged hazards have racked up $58,100 in fines against a Texas-based maker of pipeline cleaning pigs.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pigs Unlimited International Inc., of Tomball, TX, a foam and polyurethane pig manufacturer, for 19 safety violations involving a variety of worker hazards.

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Pigs Unlimited provides pig manufacturing and professional pipeline services.

The citations were issued Thursday (Nov. 14) based on findings from a July inspection that was prompted by a complaint.

In addition to manufacturing, Pigs Unlimited provides pipeline cleaning, pig tracking, pigging consultation, training, inspection, field supervision and other services.

'Range of Hazards'

“This employer failed to protect its workers from a range of hazards, from potential amputation to chemical exposures and other safety hazards,” said David Doucet, director of OSHA’s Houston North Area Office. “The lack of preventive measures must be addressed and corrected to provide a safe working environment.”

The citations involve 15 serious and four other-than-serious citations. Serious citations reflect life-threatening hazards that the employer knew, or should have known, about.

The 15 serious safety violations allege failure to:

  • Determine each worker’s exposure to methylene chloride, a toxic chemical used in paint strippers and a variety of industrial processes (in this case, to wipe down foam pigs);
  • Provide protective clothing and equipment resistant to methylene chloride;
  • Provide convenient washing and eyewash facilities for employees using methylene chloride or ensure that these employees washed up;
  • Guard open-sided floors at heights;
  • Guard the point of operation on machines, shaft ends, belts, pulleys, chains and sprockets;
  • Ensure the use of eye or face protection when working with liquid chemicals, chemicacl vapors, molten metal and flying particles;
  • Reduce compressed air for cleaning purporses to less than 30 psi;
  • Guard against contact with live parts of electrical equipment; and
  • Replace damaged equipment cords and plugs.
Pigs-Unltd-services Pigs Unltd Intl
Pigs Unlimited International

In addition to manufacturing, Pigs Unlimited International offers pig tracking and other pipeline services.

Other-than-serious violations allege, among other things, electrical violations, training lapses and lack of a written hazard communication program.

The company did not respond Monday (Nov. 18) to a request for comment on the case. OSHA records show no other inspections or violations for the company in the past 10 years.


Tagged categories: Health and safety; Inspection; Maintenance programs; Methylene chloride; Oil and Gas; OSHA; Pipeline; Worker training

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