TRADE NEWS RELEASE
Friday, January 19, 2001
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999
OSHA CITES TEXAS PIPE MANUFACTURER FOR RECORDKEEPING VIOLATIONS; PROPOSES PENALTIES OF MORE THAN $500,000
Failure to properly document recordable injuries and illnesses over the past three years has resulted in a $536,000 proposed penalty for a Texas pipe manufacturer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.
Saw Pipes USA, Inc. was cited for 67 alleged willful violations of the recordkeeping rule at its Baytown, Tex. facility. The citations and proposed penalties represent one of the largest cases of recordkeeping violations over the last decade.
"Accurate records help reduce injuries and illnesses by helping an employer to pinpoint the hazards that cause them in the first place," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "When an employer fails to keep proper records, or simply neglects the responsibility altogether, then he or she has placed employees at risk. That is precisely what Saw Pipes has done in this case, and it cannot be tolerated."
OSHA began its inspection of the facility in July 2000. An initial inquiry revealed numerous problems with the company's injury and illness logs and resulted in a detailed probe of the company's recordkeeping procedures, including their OSHA logs between 1998-2000. Employers with more than 10 workers must maintain records of workplace injuries and illnesses to help track and improve management of safety and health hazards.
Based on that inspection, OSHA issued 66 alleged willful instance-by-instance violations for failure to record each work-related injury and illness. A total of $528,000 in proposed penalties was assessed. One additional willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $8,000, was issued for 16 instances where the employer failed to correctly record work-related injuries and illnesses.
"This case comes on the very day OSHA issued its revised recordkeeping rule," Jeffress said. "Proper recordkeeping is not only a critical component of an employer's total safety and health effort, but it also helps OSHA identify high-hazard industries and worksites and aids in helping determine where regulatory efforts should be directed. It is essential that records be properly kept."
Saw Pipes USA, Inc. employs 112 workers and manufacturers large carbon steel pipes, used mainly for oil and gas transmission.
A willful violation is defined as one committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Saw Pipes USA, Inc. has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
(NOTE: The last major recordkeeping enforcement case involved U.S. Denro Steel, Inc., (doing business as Jindal United Steel Corporation), a steel manufacturer also located in Baytown, Tex. The company was cited by OSHA on Oct. 20, 2000 for 122 willful instance-by-instance violations of the recordkeeping rule and assessed penalties of $1,098,000).
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This news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.