OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
News Release USDL: 97-168
Friday, May 16, 1997
Contact: Bill Wright, (202) 219-8151
OSHA Proposes Penalties Of $1,115,500 Against Colorado Steel Mill
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued citations alleging 61 violations of workplace safety standards with proposed penalties totaling $1,115,500 against CF&I Steel, L.P., in Pueblo, CO., following a complaint investigation.
Five instance-by-instance willful citations specifically addressed fall protection for workers on unguarded work platforms. Three additional willful citations covered unsafe electrical components on cranes, failure to properly inspect and maintain fire extinguishers, and the lack of flash protection on oxygen-acetylene torches.
"This company has been inspected ten times in the past three years, and two years ago received citations for some of these same issues," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor Gregory W. Watchman, who heads OSHA. "Yet these types of violations continue to exist, and CF&I's blatant diregard for its employees' safety has put lives in jeopardy. Employee safety cannot be an afterthought; it must be a top priority.
OSHA also cited the company for 37 alleged serious violations covering crane safety, elevator deficiencies, tripping hazards, defective ladders, blocked exits, and unsafe electrical components and wiring. The mill also received 16 alleged repeat violations addressing such items as additional fall protection violations, unguarded floor holes, blocked exits, personal protective equipment, unsafe electrical equipment and wiring, and defective forklifts.
"Every employee should be able to work without fear of injury or death," said Watchman. "But at CF&I, inadequate fall protection placed many workers in grave danger. This clear indifference for employee welfare warrants a high penalty.
Watchman said the OSHA investigation discovered that management failed to correct conditions earlier identified by the CF&I Steel Mill joint labor/management safety committee, as well as previous OSHA inspections.
CF&I Steel, a subsidiary of Oregon Steel Mills, Inc., is a steel manufacturing foundry that produces steel wire, seemless steel tube, and steel rail, along with other associated steel products. The facility employs approximately 1,450 employees on a full-time basis.
Willful violations are defined as those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is 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 a standard, which has been cited against the company within the last three years, is observed as violated.
CF&I Steel has 15 working to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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