Trade News Release
Tuesday, August 22, 2000
Contact: Bill Wright
Probe expanded following worker fatality
OSHA CITES COLORADO STEEL MILL FOLLOWING COMPREHENSIVE SAFETY AND HEALTH INSPECTION; PROPOSES PENALTIES OF $487,000
A Colorado-based steel manufacturer was cited today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for more than 100 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards.
CF&I Steel, L.P. (doing business as Rocky Mountain Steel Mills) in Pueblo, Colo., was cited by OSHA for 85 serious safety and health violations and 22 repeat violations following a comprehensive inspection prompted by a worker fatality last February. OSHA is proposing that the company pay $487,000 in penalties.
"CF&I Steel is no stranger to OSHA inspections and should be very aware of safety and health regulations for its workers," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "Just three years ago, OSHA fined the company $1.1 million for some of these same issues; yet management has continued to disregard employee safety. The result is a tragedy that more attention to safety and health could have prevented."
Today's citations resulted from an investigation begun on Feb. 24, 2000 following the death of a steelworker at the Pueblo plant. The worker was transporting 140 tons of 20 foot-long steel rods to the plant's rail mill. His vehicle caught the lip of a protruding manhole cover, causing the load to shift and sending three of the rods -- at 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit -- through the cab of the vehicle. OSHA issued a citation for a serious violation with $7,000 in proposed penalties for a manhole cover that did not comply with standard highway requirements.
The majority of the remaining alleged violations deal with walking-working surfaces, exits, personal protective equipment, materials handling and storage, machinery and machine guarding, and electrical violations.
OSHA has inspected the CF&I Steel facility 43 times since 1972 and issued citations in 31 of those inspections. In addition to the 1997 inspection mentioned by Jeffress, the company was inspected twice last year, and received a total of $111,500 in penalties for both serious and other-than-serious violations.
CF&I Steel, a subsidiary of Oregon Steel Mills, Inc., is a steel manufacturing foundry that produces steel rail, rod, and bar, along with other associated steel products. The facility employs approximately 650 workers on a full-time basis.
A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Repeat violations are those in which an employer has previously been cited within the last three years for the same, or a substantially similar, violation and which has become a final order and not under contest.
CF&I Steel has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.