Arcelor Mittal Faces Safety Fines

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 @ 01:08 PM gHale

Steel plate manufacturer Arcelor Mittal is facing $66,300 in fines for eight safety and health, including one repeat, violations at its Conshohocken, PA, facility, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

OSHA initiated an inspection in response to a complaint saying workers suffered exposure to metal fumes. The inspection was a part of OSHA’s national emphasis program focused on hexavalent chromium and primary metals.

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Headquartered in London, England, Arcelor Mittal employs 295 workers at the Conshohocken facility.

The repeat violations involve open-sided floors or platforms, as many as 20 feet or more above ground level, that lack guards to prevent workers from falling. The citations carry penalties of $25,000. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations 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. Similar violations occurred in 2010.

Eleven serious violations include a lack of annual audiometric testing and training, a lack of guarding for power transmission devices, electrical hazards, deficiencies in training for powered industrial trucks, a lack of training on respiratory protection and fitting workers for protective equipment, and exposing workers to hexavalent chromium at more than four times the permissible level. The citations carry $41,300 in penalties. 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.

“By continuing to expose workers to these hazards, Arcelor Mittal puts its workers at risk of serious injuries,” said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA’s Allentown Area Office. “It is imperative that the necessary steps be taken to provide workers at this facility with a safe and healthful work environment.”

Workers who breathe hexavalent chromium compounds at their jobs for many years may be at increased risk of developing lung cancer. Breathing high levels of hexavalent chromium can irritate or damage the nose, throat and lungs.

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