OSHA Puts the Brakes on Wheel Repairer's Safety Hazards

OSHA inspectors found that workers at the company's site in Schertz, Texas, were repairing vehicle wheels using welding equipment that was not properly guarded and without the use of required personal protective equipment.

OSHA has cited Wheels America San Antonio I Ltd., doing business as Wheels America in Schertz, Texas, for 10 serious and one repeat violation for exposing workers to potential eye injuries and combustible dust hazards, among others. Proposed penalties total $45,000.

OSHA inspectors found that workers at the company's site in Schertz were repairing vehicle wheels using welding equipment that was not properly guarded and without the use of required personal protective equipment, such as goggles. Both hazards were cited as serious violations.

Additional serious violations involved failing to control fire hazards associated with powder-coating operations by maintaining ventilation in the spray booth, ensure that electrical cords were safely used, and keep the worksite clean and sanitary.

The repeat violation involved failing to provide covers for boxes containing live electrical conductors. Wheels America was cited for similar violations at its Sherwood Lane facility in Houston in 2007.

"This company exposed its employees to workplace hazards that could cause severe injuries or even death," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Failing to protect workers is unacceptable and OSHA will not tolerate it."

The company repairs tire rims by welding, grinding, and powder-coating them.

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