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OSHA Cites TX Pipe, Tank Company

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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A Texas oil tank and pipe manufacturer is facing a dozen federal health and safety violations—half of them repeats from 2011—and $129,800 in fines for hazards at its plant in Abilene.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited SPA Pipe and Supply, doing business as Smith Pipe of Abilene, for exposing workers to amputation, electrical and chemical hazards.

 Smith Pipe of Abilene

 Smith Pipe of Abilene

Smith Pipe of Abilene also operates SPA Coating and SPA Drilling. OSHA also issued multiple citations against the company in January 2011.

Smith Pipe also operates SPA Coating LP, which provides coating services for oilfield pipe, and SPA Drilling, both of Abilene. The other companies have not been cited.

In January 2011, OSHA cited Smith Pipe for 23 serious and two other-than-serious violations and fined the company $51,900 after an inspection triggered by a complaint. Six serious violations were later deleted, and the total fine reduced to $26,950.

Smith Pipe was also cited for seven violations after a complaint in 2007 and fined $3,850.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Targeted Inspection

The new citations follow a January investigation launched under OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses enforcement resources on high-hazard workplaces with high injury and illness rates.

The serious violations include allegations of failure to:

• Properly use electrical components as labeled;

• Adequately maintain electrical circuits;

• Provide required machine guarding; and

• Label compressed gases.

Serious violations are those that an employer knew (or should have known) about and that are likely to cause death or serious injury.

The repeat violations include allegations of failure to:

• Secure compressed gas cylinders and valves;

• Install and adjust work rests and tongue guards on bench grinders; and

• Repair or replace damaged welding leads.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation within five years.

‘Not the First Time’

Spa Pipe and Supply, which employs about 385 workers statewide, has 15 business days to contest the case or comply.

“This is not the first time this company has jeopardized the safety of its workers by exposing them to potential hazards,” said Joann Figueroa, OSHA’s area director in El Paso.

“OSHA’s standards must be followed to safeguard the workplace, and prevent injury and illness.”


Tagged categories: Contractors; Health and safety; Oil and Gas; OSHA; Painters; Pipelines; Tanks and vessels; Violations

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