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Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-955-ATL (122)
Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Contact: Eugene Stewart or Dan Fuqua
Phone: (601) 965-5400 (404) 562-2078
Agency Proposes Over $113,000 in Penalties
JACKSON, Miss. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Irby Steel for exposing workers to serious safety and health violations at the company's Gulfport steel fabricating plant. The agency is proposing $113,750 in penalties.
"To ensure that worker injuries and fatalities decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $113,750 in this case demonstrates the Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of America's workers."
OSHA cited the company for 30 serious safety violations, with proposed penalties of $93,800. Included in the citations were: failing to have a lockout-tagout program that would render machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair; exposing workers to injuries from defective forklifts, cranes, tools, machinery and electrical equipment; and for failing to provide safety training for employees.
The company also received nine serious health violations, with proposed penalties of $19,950. Among the cited items were: using unapproved material as a gas line, which exposed workers to hazards of fire and explosion; failing to provide hearing protection and annual testing for employees working in areas where noise was above the permissible levels; failing to label and properly store chemicals; and lack of a first-aid program.
OSHA issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company, a division of Struthers Industries, Inc., has 15 days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The work site was inspected by OSHA's Jackson area office, 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210; phone: (601) 965-4606.
In fiscal year 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2,000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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