OSHACranes without brakes and band saws without guards were among the violations found by OSHA at a Houston, Texas company -- after an employee gave the agency the heads up.

Piping Technology and Products, Inc. faces more than a $1 in fines for the 13 willful and 17 serious violations OSHA found during an inspection. The company also earned itself membership in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance.

After a worker filed a complaint with OSHA about a lack of brakes on overhead cranes and unguarded presses at the worksite, OSHA substantiated those problems and found others: employees who were cutting metal I-beams and pipes without the proper machine guarding, band saws that lacked guarding and a failure to lock out  all of the sources of hazardous energy to equipment before service and maintenance. These and other practices exposed workers to the risk of amputations and other serious injuries.

SVEP was initiated in June 2010 and focuses on employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.