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Galvanizer Faces $50K Bill

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

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A Texas galvanizing facility is facing more than $50,000 in fines after federal inspectors found numerous alleged safety violations at its steel coating plant.

K-T Galvanizing Company Inc., based in Katy, TX, was cited for 13 serious violations following a February 23 inspection under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Regional Emphasis Program for Fabricated Metals.

Struck-By, Noise, Inhalation Hazards

The alleged violations identified by investigators from the Fort Worth Area Office reportedly exposed workers to struck-by, shock and equipment hazards related to forklift and powered industrial truck operation, according to one of two citation documents.

Hot dip galvanizing process
By Phasmatisnox / CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Investigators with OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office allegedly found 13 serious violations during a February inspection of one of two K-T Galvanizing Company's hot-dip galvanizing facilities (not shown). The violations carry a total of $53,200 in proposed penalties.

Specifically in the coating area, inspectors noted that the employer did not ensure that safety latches covered the throat opening of hooks used as lifting devices, which would protect employees from struck-by hazards if equipment failed.

The citation indicated that safety latches were not a part of the hoist chain hooks throughout the facility, and that, in the coating area, a safety latches were missing from the hook on the chain hoist that lifts the spinner as well as from the spinner hook.

Additionally, in lacking an effective hearing conservation program, the company reportedly exposed employees to noise hazards.

According to the other citation document, when operating machinery such as joists and hand tools or handling large pieces of metal, employees were said to be exposed to an average noise level of 89.7 dBA of the permissible daily noise exposure (eight-hour time-weighted sound level of 85 dBA) during the eight-hour sampling period. The permissible exposure limit is 90 dBA, according to the General Industry Standard.

Inspectors also noted that because the company did not confirm that a required workplace hazard assessment had been performed, workers were exposed to struck-by, noise, inhalation, dermal, fire and electrical hazards related to personal protective equipment, chemicals and machinery.

Moreover, on the bathe line, workers were exposed to inhalation, chemicals, burn and fire hazards as no assessment had been conducted for confined spaces when entering the dip tanks for cleaning.

Additionally, without a written hazard communication program, workers were exposed to inhalation, burn and fire hazards as a result of working with hazardous chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, molten zinc and sodium hydroxide.

In addition to the lack of a written hazard communication program, inspectors said that labeling of on-site chemicals was inadequate and employees did not receive suitable training on chemical hazards.

hot dip galvanizing
By Galataxi / CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

According to the citation documents, workers were allegedly exposed to struck-by, noise, inhalation, dermal, fire and electrical hazards related to personal protective equipment, chemicals and machinery.

In all, the 13 violations, each classified as serious, carry a combined total of $53,200 in proposed penalties.

OSHA Eyes Procedural, Training Needs

"K-T Galvanizing's loose attitude toward safety exposed employees to known hazardous conditions," said Jack A. Rector, OSHA's Area Director in Fort Worth.

"The company did not follow safety procedures or provide crucial training to employees about workplace hazards that exposed them to an unsafe work environment and hazardous conditions daily."

K-T Galvanizing Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday (June 27).

The citations were issued June 17 and announced by OSHA June 22.

The company has 15 days from receipt of the notice to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

About the Company

Founded in 1978, K-T Galvanizing is a privately owned company specializing in the hot dip galvanizing processes.

According to its website, it serves the agriculture, communications, construction, highway and transportation, heat transfer product, industrial, and recreation industries.

It employs more than 40 people in its two plants, located in Katy and Dallas.

   

Tagged categories: Coating Application; Galvanized steel; Galvanized/thermal spray coatings; Hazard Communication Standard (HCS); hazardous materials; Hazards; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; Personal protective equipment; Safety; Steel; Violations

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