OSHA has issued SPA Pipe and Supply LP in Abilene, doing business as Smith Pipe, 20 serious and two other-than-serious citations after an inspection at the company's facility on Highway 277. The inspection, initiated Aug. 2, 2010, found that workers were being exposed to electrical deficiencies, possible leakage that could lead to a fire or explosion and other violations with the potential to cause injuries. Proposed penalties total $45,600.

"This company exposed its employees to preventable workplace hazards," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in El Paso, Texas. "Employers must provide a safe and healthful working environment for their employees."

Serious citations allege failure to ensure compressed oxygen and acetylene gas cylinders were stored separately, ensure overhead cranes were periodically inspected, ensure exposed live electrical wires were de-energized, and train employees on hazard communication and permit-required confined space entry procedures. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The other-than-serious citations allege failure to ensure enough toilets were available for the number of employees working at the facility and to ensure that first aid kits were adequately stocked. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Smith Pipe, which employs about 180 workers at its Abilene facility, has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in El Paso or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.