US Labor Department's OSHA cites Baytown, Texas-based JSW Steel
for safety and health hazards; proposed penalties total more than $469,000
BAYTOWN, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited JSW Steel (USA) Inc. with 11 repeat, 23 serious and two other-than-serious violations for exposing employees to safety and health hazards at the company's facility on East McKinney Road in Baytown. Proposed penalties total $469,420.
"This company has operated in a way that disregards the safety and health of its employees," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "OSHA will not tolerate employers that do not protect their workers."
OSHA's Houston South Area Office initiated a safety inspection on Sept. 7, 2011, as a result of several employee complaints, while concurrently conducting a site-specific target inspection. OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program focuses on establishments with high rates of injuries and illnesses. Both inspections were performed as follow-up to an inspection in November 2008.
The repeat violations include failing to provide covers for open pits and floor holes, develop and conduct periodic inspections for lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources, ensure that fire extinguishers were mounted and readily available, remove damaged rigging and lifting devices from service, provide the required machine guarding for rotating parts and ensure that hazardous chemical containers were properly labeled to identify their contents. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the company in May 2009 for similar violations with penalties totaling $146,500.
The serious violations include failing to cover floor openings, guard open-sided platforms and provide railings along walkways above dangerous equipment, ensure that stairways providing access for emergency exits were of adequate width, adequately secure compressed gas cylinders, ensure the use of personal protective equipment such as goggles and gloves, and ensure that lockout/tagout procedures were followed for cranes. Additionally, numerous electrical hazards were found, including failing to repair conductors and provide covers for junction boxes. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The other-than-serious violations are failing to follow OSHA's standard to evaluate the workplace for respiratory hazards and to provide training on the use of filtering face pieces. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA has placed JSW Steel in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/JSWSteelCitations315722769030612.pdf*
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Houston, or contest the citations and penalties 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), the agency's Houston South office at 281-286-0583 or its Houston North office at 281-591-2438.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF documents.