Serious, Willful and Repeat Safety Violations found in Texas Workplaces

by John Chapman

The latest reports from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration include several serious, willful and repeat safety violations at Texas worksites.

Fall Hazards

Williams & Davis Boilers Inc. in Hutchins, Texas was cited by OSHA with nine safety violations – including one willful, four repeat and four serious – for continuing to expose workers to fall and other hazards.

The willful violation involves operating a 10-ton overhead crane without bridge brakes and failing to ensure that the crane had sufficient clearance to prevent the bridge from striking the building. The repeat violations include failing to protect workers from fall hazards while jacketing boilers 4-10 feet above the floor, ensure that workers are trained to safely operate powered industrial trucks, ensure that workroom floors are kept clean and dry, and keep pendent controls on overhead cranes clean so that the function labels are legible. Similar violations were cited during a 2011 inspection.

The serious violations include failing to ensure that personal protective equipment is designed and constructed for the work performed, implement confined space entry procedures for workers who perform welding duties inside de-aerators and boilers, establish energy control procedures for machinery with more than one energy source and ensure that powered industrial trucks are taken out of service when in need of repair.

Fire Hazards

Vann Energy Services LLC in Nixon, Texas was cited with 13 safety and health violations – including two willful and three repeat – for exposing workers to flash fires and other hazards. OSHA’s Austin Area Office opened an inspection after two workers were injured by a fire that occurred in an oil and gas field tank.

Inspectors found that the employer had failed to ensure that the air inside the tank was tested for flammable or toxic materials before providing employees with electrical equipment that is capable of causing a potentially flammable environment to ignite.

The repeat violations include failing to provide eye and face protection, communicate chemical hazard information to workers and protect flexible electric cords from damage.

One of the willful violations involves failing to implement a respiratory protection program that includes an evaluation of respiratory hazards, medical evaluations for workers, fit testing, training, and the proper means to clean and store the respirators. The other violation involves failing to implement a permit-required confined space entry program that includes atmospheric testing, proper written permits, a qualified attendant and rescue plans.

The serious violations include failing to ensure that electrical equipment such as a portable lamp is approved for hazardous locations, maintain electrical conductors and cords in a safe operating condition, train workers on the proper use of personal protective equipment, consult workers on confined space entry procedures and maintain fire extinguishers in a proper working condition.

Machine Hazards: Combustible Dust and Unguarded Saws

Texas cabinet manufacturer Carmen Creative Cabinets LLC in Belton, Texas was cited by OSHA for 32 serious safety and health violations for exposing workers to a variety of hazards, including combustible dust accumulations and amputations from unguarded saws.

The safety violations include failing to provide a proper conduit for compressed air, train and certify forklift operators, install approved electrical equipment, properly guard saws, provide safety mechanisms for powered nail guns, and ensure clear access to fire extinguishers and electrical breaker boxes. The health violations include failing to provide adequate housekeeping and exhaust systems for combustible dust accumulations, implement a hazard communication program and training on the use of chemicals, provide personal protective equipment, maintain restroom facilities in a sanitary condition and provide first-aid supplies.

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At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have tried hundreds of cases to verdict and have settled hundreds more. In 2010 alone, we negotiated settlements of personal injury and wrongful death claims totaling more than $50 million.

Our firm is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our partners been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

If you have been seriously injured, or a friend or loved one was injured or killed, in a workplace accident, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for your free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal right to compensation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out a free legal consultation form.


Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2012.

by John Chapman

John Chapman is a licensed attorney with experience in complex commercial litigation (including securities fraud, RICO, shareholder oppression, and derivative actions) and personal injury litigation.