Company fined after equipment amputates workers’ fingers

A manufacturing company for the energy industry was assessed a fine of $70,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after two workers had their fingers amputated in hydraulic presses that the agency said were not properly guarded.

OSHA cited Piping Technology & Products with one willful violation and a proposed penalty of $70,000. Willful violations include allegations that a company acted with indifference to worker health or safety or either knew or disregarded the federal rules.

“Piping Technology & Products continues to expose workers to unguarded hazardous machinery, even though it has been previously cited for the same violation on various pieces of machinery,” Mark Briggs, OSHA’s Houston South area director, said in a prepared statement.

“The employer knowingly permitted workers to operate machines without proper guarding,” according to Briggs. That kind of disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated.”

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“The accident that occurred was unfortunate, but Piping Technology & Products strives to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for its employees,” according to a written statement from its vice president, R. K. Agrawal.

The company began in a garage in Southeast Houston and it’s grown to more than 700 employees over the past three decades, according to the statement.

While the company noted that it disagrees with OSHA’s conclusions, “we will maintain a cooperative relationship with OSHA and we look forward to working with them to resolve this situation.”

OSHA inspected Piping Technology twice in 2011 and cited the company with 42 health and safety violations, including failing to provide guards for band saws, shears and press brakes.

The company, which makes pipe supports, clamps and expansion joints for chemical plants and oil refineries, contested those citations.