HOUSTON – A federal workplace inspection at a metal refinisher in Houston found the company exposing employees to more than 40 safety hazards with the potential to cause serious health concerns, including birth defects, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancers.Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation in December 2023 at Outdoor Furniture Refinishing Inc., operating as Allied Powder Coating, and identified 39 serious violations and five other-than-serious violations of OSHA regulations. Agency inspectors found the company failed to use required engineering controls and respiratory protection to prevent health hazards related to triglycidyl isocyanurate, arsenic, cadmium beryllium and lead exposures.“Outdoor Furniture Refinishing Inc. has a legal responsibility to ensure its employees have a safe work environment and must do better at understanding the hazards that exist in the work they do,” explained OSHA Area Director Larissa Ipsen in south Houston. “Employers are required to know all dangers present in their workplace and develop procedures, provide safety equipment and train employees to ensure workers are protected from immediate and long-term hazards.”  The violations issued to Outdoor Furniture Refinishing relate to the company’s failure to do the following: Protect employees in powder-coating operations from inhalation hazards.Have engineering controls for noise, an effective hearing conservation program and noise monitoring in place and equip employees with hearing protection.Protect workers by maintaining a spray booth.Ensure that respirators were provided and used properly.Have changing rooms and showers specifically for employees overexposed to arsenic, beryllium and lead, and provide required training and medical surveillance. or air monitoring for overexposure to these substances.Maintain electrical equipment as required.Protect employees against harmful dust overexposure.Ensure arsenic, beryllium and lead was safely blown off of clothing.Establish regulated areas for arsenic and beryllium.Develop and implement a hazard communication program.The five other-than-serious violations were for not evaluating and certifying forklift operators and not ensuring readily accessible fire extinguishers. Outdoor Furniture Refinishing faces $338,094 in proposed penalties. A concurrent investigation into alleged health hazards continues.Left unchecked, exposure to unsafe levels of the chemicals found in this inspection have numerous health hazards. Triglycidyl isocyanurate can cause birth defects; total dust may lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease; arsenic is a known carcinogenic that can also cause skin lesions; lead can cause permanent cognitive impairment; and beryllium can scar lung tissue permanently.Founded in 1988, Outdoor Furniture Refinishing Inc. is a family-owned and operated Houston company that offers Metal refinishing services for industrial, residential and commercial customers throughout Texas, and other areas of the southeast U.S. Outdoor Furniture Refinishing Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.                                                     Learn more about OSHA. 

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