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OSHA National News Release
U.S. Department of Labor
National News Release USDL 00-307
Friday, October 20, 2000
Contact: Frank Meilinger
PHONE: (202) 693-1999
OSHA FINES TEXAS STEEL COMPANY MORE THAN $1.7 MILLION FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS
A Texas steel company has been fined $1,702,800 for more than 180 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.
OSHA cited U.S. Denro Steel Inc., doing business as Jindal United Steel Corporation (JUSC), with a total of 182 alleged violations, 126 of which are categorized as willful.
The inspection found that the company purposefully did not record numerous injuries and illnesses from 1998 through part of 2000, significantly lowering the company's lost workday illness and injury rate.
"Documenting workplace injuries and illnesses is a vital part of protecting our nation's workers," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "Under our inspection targeting system, had this employer reported the correct injury and illness rate for 1998, the facility would likely have been placed on the list for a programmed inspection prior to the complaint that initiated this investigation."
Failing to record workplace injuries and illnesses is a serious deficiency, not merely a paperwork violation. Accurate records of injuries and illnesses help workers and employers identify hazards that require correction and help OSHA pinpoint worksites that need to do a better job of protecting workers.
JUSC, a steel manufacturer operating in southeastern Texas, specializes in hot rolling steel into plates. The company employs approximately 343 employees at the facility.
"It's abundantly clear that JUSC management chose to under-record injuries and illnesses and neglected numerous other safety and health requirements," Jeffress said. "We cannot tolerate such blatant disregard for the well-being of employees."
OSHA performed a safety inspection in response to a formal complaint. The initial inspection was later expanded due to alleged safety violations discovered during the initial inspection, including discrepancies in the company's injury and illness logs. OSHA also found several large overhead cranes to be in deplorable condition, including missing or deficient brake systems so that stopping the cranes quickly in an emergency was not possible.
OSHA cited the company with 122 willful instance-by-instance violations for failure to record injuries and illnesses with a total proposed penalty of $1,098,000 ($9,000 per incidence); four willful instance-by-instance violations for failure to correct crane hazards identified during inspections for a proposed total penalty of $252,000 ($63,000 per crane); fifty serious violations with proposed penalties of $315,000 and 6 serious health violations with a proposed penalty of $37,800.
A willful violation is defined as one committed with an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
JUSC has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The text of this news release is on the Internet World Wide Web at www.osha.gov. Information on this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-693-1999.
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