OSHA Alleges Safety, Health Violations at Matrix Metals

Sept. 10, 2008
$96,000 in penalties proposed for Texas foundry

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing penalties totaling $96,000 against Matrix Metals L.L.C.’s Richmond, TX, foundry, alleging the company failed to protect workers from safety and health hazards. "This company has exposed its employees to unsafe working conditions," stated OSHA regional administrator Dean McDaniel. "It is fortunate in this case that no one was injured."

Houston-based Matrix Metals supplies ferrous castings to manufacturers of flow-control equipment, locomotives and transit vehicles, military vehicle, construction equipment, track systems, and oilfield equipment.. Earlier this year, the group of three foundries was acquired by India’s Sanmar Group.

After a health inspection of the Richmond plant that began March 5 and a safety inspection on March 12, OSHA issued 33 serious and seven other-than-serious violations.

Serious health violations have a potential to cause death or serious physical harm to employees when the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. At Matrix Metals, OSHA cited serious health violations that include failing to perform a personal-protective equipment assessment and not providing appropriate personal-protective devices to protect against including silica, total dust, open flames, and other hazards. Matrix also allegedly failed to train employees on the hazards of excessive exposure to noise and the use of hearing protection. And, OSHA contends, it failed to perform an evaluation of respiratory hazards.

Matrix Metals’ “serious safety violations” include failing to provide machine guarding on a band saw, bench grinder and other power-driven tools; implement procedures and training for safe, permit-required confined space entry; provide specific energy control procedures; ensure the safe operation and condition of powered industrial trucks; and perform frequent inspections of overhead cranes.

Finally, the plant’s “other-than-serious” violations relate to its failure to complete OSHA injury and illness logs, and not labeling and identifying hazardous chemicals.

According to OSHA regulations, Matrix Metals was given 15 business days to comply to the citations, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.