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Region 6 News Release: OSHA-02-195
Mon., Dec. 16, 2002
Contact: Diana Peterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214)767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
DALLAS -- Two workers were burned in an explosion and one of them later died from his injuries because a Seguin, Texas, company allegedly failed to provide a safe working environment, according to citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Structural Metals Inc. (SMI), a steel manufacturer, was fined $70,000 for an alleged willful violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, following an inspection that began Sept. 27 in response to the explosion at the company's worksite in Seguin.
The willful citation was for allowing employees to continue to work on a metal melting process despite water leaking into the furnace, exposing them to an explosion. A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the OSHA law and regulations.
"The employer knew there was a leak in the roof cooling panel and chose not to repair it," said Paul Brantley, OSHA's area director in Austin. "It's quite possible this explosion could have been avoided had the employer made the necessary repairs."
SMI, a subsidiary of Commercial Metal Inc in Dallas, Texas, manufactures metal beams and rods, and employs about 5,000 workers nationwide and 600 in Seguin.
SMI has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Austin area office, or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the Austin area OSHA office at (512) 916-5783. OSHA's toll-free hotline number may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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