Sept. 10, 2014
Worker crushed by machinery at Youngstown, Ohio, steel mill
OSHA fines Vallourec Star $94,000 for 22 serious safety violations
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After receiving information that a worker had suffered severe injuries after being crushed between two machines, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Vallourec Star for 22 serious safety violations. The machine operator suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis, Feb. 27, 2014, and has been unable to return to work. The investigation found that Youngstown steel mill workers were exposed to crushing, amputation* and fall hazards. Proposed penalties total $94,000.
"Manufacturers that operate dangerous machinery must be aware of the daily hazards workers face while working with this machinery. Vallourec Star did not prioritize safety," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "No worker should be injured on the job because the company failed to provide the required protections."
OSHA's inspection found that the full-time operator was crushed between an activated transfer paddle and a stationary electrical box in the plant. The injury occurred because the company did not have sufficient procedures to protect workers from moving machinery parts during servicing or maintenance and failed to train workers to recognize hazards and proper machine lockout procedures. Equipment at the mill also lacked adequate machine guards designed to prevent injuries. These hazards are among OSHA's most frequently cited violations.
Other violations involved failure to protect workers from fall hazards in the mill, including unguarded floor openings, ladderways, and open-sided platforms and staircases that lacked guard and handrails. The company was cited for using damaged and improperly wired electrical components and forklifts that needed repair.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
Vallourec Star produces seamless tubular products, primarily for oil and gas applications. The company has an electric steel mill and two tube rolling mills in Youngstown. A subsidiary of Vallourec USA, the company also operates facilities in Houston and Muskogee, Oklahoma.
On July 14 the company was cited for a serious violation for exposing workers to excessive noise.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Cleveland Area Office at 216-447-4194.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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Release Number: 14-1628-CHI
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