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Region 6 News Release: 11-1321-DAL
Sept. 29, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Todd      Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710      972-850-4709
Email: todd.elizabeth@dol.gov      rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Koppers Inc. for safety hazards at
Somerville, Texas, work site; proposed fines total $78,100

SOMERVILLE, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Koppers Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., for seven serious and two repeat violations for exposing workers to a variety of safety hazards at the company's plant on County Road 423 in Somerville, Texas. Proposed penalties total $78,100.

The serious violations include failing to maintain wire rope without damage, provide adequate lighting while operating equipment at night, maintain areas of the facility free of boards with protruding nails, ensure that welding equipment was properly maintained and provide safety markings on winching equipment. A serious violation occurs when 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 repeat violations include failing to ensure that the work site was free of dust accumulation, repair hydraulic leaks and remove defective powered industrial trucks from service. 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 for similar violations at its plants in Denver, Colo., and Little Rock, Ark., in 2010.

"This is not the first time this company has exposed its employees to possible injuries or illnesses," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "In this case it is fortunate that no one was injured."

The company, which employs about 1,100 workers nationwide, produces carbon compounds and treated wood products for the aluminum, steel, chemical, rubber, railroad and utility industries. It has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, get compliance assistance, file a complaint, report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or its Austin Area Office at 512-374-0271.

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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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