Safety Training Needs Boost at TX Steel Maker

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 @ 12:12 PM gHale

Employees who perform maintenance work on a metal cutting machine must undergo training to safely de-energize the machinery and conduct periodic audits of those procedures.

That was the conclusion reached after a June 10 inspection at the JSW Steel (USA) Inc. Baytown facility in Baytown, TX, found the company violated 12 safety requirements, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company is now facing a fine of $126,000. JSW Steel employs 700 workers and produces a variety of steel products at its Baytown facility.

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“Lockout/tagout procedures exist to keep workers from hazards, including electrocution, crushing, burns, lacerations and amputations. Not following procedures puts workers’ lives in danger, and that is unacceptable,” said Mark Briggs, OSHA’s Houston South Area Office director. “Although workers were not injured in this case, the employer must be proactive and correct hazards before injuries or fatalities occur.”

OSHA cited JSW Steel for one repeated violation, carrying a fine of $70,000, for failure to conduct periodic inspections and develop lockout/tagout procedures to power off the shear safely, a large metal cutting machine, during machine maintenance and servicing. A repeated violation exists when an employer previously faced 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. A March 2012 inspection at JSW Steel found similar violations.

Inspectors also identified nine serious violations, with a proposed fine of $54,000, for failure to affix lockout or tagout safeguards on dangerous machinery and to train employees performing machine maintenance. JSW Steel also faces citations for inadequate drenching or flushing facilities for workers exposed to injurious corrosive materials. 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.

The company also faces two other violations, with a $2,000 fine, for failure to mount fire extinguishers and replace a missing junction box.

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