Asbestos Exposure at U.S. Steel: OSHA

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 @ 01:08 PM gHale


Two times in a month, workers suffered exposure to asbestos at the behest of United States Steel Corp., said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Asbestos is a hazard associated with serious and fatal health risks including lung cancer.

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During the first week of February, at the company’s coke production facility in Pittsburgh, five workers removed and replaced packing material containing asbestos at the direction of the company. In March, OSHA found two other employees had burned and removed a rotted section of expansion pipe at the company’s direction. The pipe later tested positive for asbestos.

This is the second time since 2011 OSHA cited U.S. Steel for exposing employees to asbestos hazards.

Responding to an employee complaint, OSHA opened an inspection March 16, 2016, and identified 10 violations for which U.S. Steel faces $170,000 in fines.

Inspectors found the company failed to establish a regulated area and inform employees of the presence of asbestos-containing material, conduct initial employee monitoring and ensure a negative exposure assessment, implement specific engineering controls and designate a qualified person to oversee the work and issued repeat citations. In addition, the employer used compressed air improperly in maintenance and repair operations, did not provide employee training or utilize appropriate containment and disposal methods.

“Once again, we have found U.S. Steel Corp. failed to protect its employees from the serious risks of asbestos exposure. Breathing airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung damage that often progresses to disability and possible death,” said Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA’s Pittsburgh Area Office. “Given the potential danger to the health of its workers, the company must take immediate steps needed to avoid its employees’ prolonged exposure to asbestos.”

Pittsburgh, PA-based U.S. Steel is an integrated steel producer with major production operations in North America and Central Europe and an annual raw steelmaking capability of 24.4 million net tons. The company manufactures a wide range of steel sheet and tubular products for the automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction, and oil and gas industries.