$560,000 Fine Set for Crushed Arms

TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2014


A Texas supplier of elastomers and other products for the oil and gas industry is facing major federal citations and $560,000 in fines after a worker's arms were crushed on the job—the company's third severe injury under similar circumstances.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Custom Rubber Products LLC, of Houston, with eight willful, egregious violations, saying the company had "created a dangerous work environment."

3 Accidents

OSHA inspected the 80,000-square-foot facility after the worker was injured Sept. 6. while operating an unguarded machine.

During the inspection, inspectors learned of two other incidents that had occurred previously at the facility, according to OSHA. Both incidents involved severe injuries to employees while operating similar machinery, the agency said. It did not provide details.

The resulting citations allege eight willful violations—OSHA's highest level of infraction. Each citation carries a fine of $70,000 and involves a separate unguarded piece of equipment.

Company Response

The company issued this statement:

"Custom Rubber Products cooperated with OSHA’s investigation of the injury in question. We are committed to the safety of our employees, because safety is one of the core values of The Flexitallic Group.

"Prior to the issuance of the citation, Custom Rubber had commenced its own strategy for the modernization of its equipment, and we expect to further that plan with a move to a new state-of-the-art facility in early 2015.

"While we are somewhat surprised by the conclusions reached by OSHA and we disagree with them, we plan to continue to work with OSHA in the ongoing administrative process to properly address any concerns."

'No Excuse'

Founded in 1961, Custom Rubber Products provides engineering support and manufacturing services for the oil and gas industry. The company, owned by Paris-based Flexitallic Group, employs about 280 workers at its 10-acre site.

CustomRubberProducts

Custom Rubber manufactures a broad spectrum of products for the oil and gas industry.

"In an instant, moving machine parts can crush workers or amputate fingers or limbs," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational and Health Dr. David Michaels.

"Safeguards are essential to protect workers from these preventable injuries. Employers must ensure that guards are functioning on machines that can cause these injuries, and there is no excuse for failing to provide them."

   

Tagged categories: Elastomeric coatings; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Oil and Gas; OSHA; Rubber

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