Pipe Maker Faces Fines after Worker Dies

Thursday, May 26, 2011 @ 02:05 PM gHale

Welspun Tubular LLC is facing one willful and two serious violations following the death of a worker at the company’s Little Rock facility, said officials at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“This company has been cited by OSHA twice in a six-month period for jeopardizing the safety of its employees,” said Carlos Reynolds, director of the agency’s Little Rock Area Office. “It is tragic that the employer’s negligence has resulted in the death of a worker.”

OSHA’s Little Rock office initiated a safety inspection Dec. 22, 2010, at the company’s facility on Frazier Pike after a worker ended up crushed to death between two pipes on a conveyor. The Mumbai, India-based company is a worldwide pipe manufacturer that employs more than 20,000 workers globally, with 400 at the Little Rock facility.

The willful citation came as a result of failing to provide the required machine guarding to ensure workers remain protected from the pipes on a conveyor while making the pipes. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Serious safety violations include failing to repair open floor holes. A serious citation is 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.

Based on a separate inspection that preceded this fatality, in January, OSHA cited Welspun Tubular for serious and other-than-serious safety and health violations for a variety of workplace hazardous conditions. Those violations carried penalties totaling $88,000.

For the violations cited following the latest inspection, proposed penalties total $82,100.

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