Plastic Systems LLC was recently cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 21 safety and health violations for failing to develop adequate lockout/tagout procedures to control the unexpected startup of the company's plastic injection molding machines. Proposed penalties total $174,240.

The inspection was conducted in February 2014 after a safety referral was made during a health inspection initiated under the Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program.

"Inspectors found workers at risk of potential injuries from preventable workplace hazards, including the unexpected startup of machinery during maintenance or servicing, the lack of machine guarding and electrical hazards," said Joann Figueroa, OSHA's area director in El Paso, Texas. "OSHA's standards must be followed to keep workers safe."

The six repeat violations, with a penalty of $112,860, were cited for failing to address specific lockout/tagout techniques for the servicing and maintenance of machinery and conduct annual inspections of these techniques and procedures. Plastic Systems failed to ensure workers had operable, portable fire extinguishers and were trained to use them. Improper maintenance resulted in electrical hazards, including conductors with damaged insulation. The company was cited previously in a 2011 inspection at the El Paso facility.

The remaining 15 violations, including 11 serious with a penalty of $61,380, were cited for failure to ensure workers knew the type and magnitude of energy that needed lockout control, provide machine guarding on injection molding machines, maintain electrical components and equipment in a manner that complies with safety requirements, properly record injuries and illnesses, adequately distribute portable fire extinguishers, and replace damaged circuit breaker boxes.

Plastic Systems, which employs about 80 workers at its El Paso location, designs and manufactures plastic molded products and assemblies. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's El Paso area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.