oshaThree separate incidents resulting in severe injuries to workers lead to an OSHA investigation and eventually, to citations against Boomerang Tube LLC in Liberty, Texas.

OSHA has cited the company for six willful, nine serious and one other-than-serious violation at its facility in Liberty, where three employees were seriously injured within a period of five months. Proposed penalties total $468,000.

OSHA's Houston North Area Office began an investigation June 14 in response to a complaint from one of the injured employees that workers faced unsafe conditions while operating cranes and slitter, rolling and thread machines; performing service and maintenance work; and stacking and loading pipes in the yard and on trucks at the company's work site. In April, an employee was injured from becoming caught in an operating machine and in May, a second employee was struck by a piece of steel and knocked into a 5-foot-10-inch concrete pit. In September, another employee was injured from becoming caught in machinery. All three had to be flown to a local hospital due to the severity of their injuries.

The willful violations were cited for failing to repair a damaged under-hung crane, which lifts and lowers materials; ensure the use of lockout/tagout procedures to control the energy sources of equipment; and provide the required machine guarding on the pipe manufacturing line.

The serious violations include failing to repair defective hook latches on operating cranes; ensure the facility was clear of trip and fall hazards, such as providing a cover for an open pit; and failing to ensure that loads did not exceed the rated capacity of industrial trucks.

The other-than-serious violation was for failing to maintain required records of injuries and illnesses.

Boomerang Tube, which specializes in tube manufacturing, employs approximately 460 workers.