Worker Crushed at OH Steel Mill

Monday, September 15, 2014 @ 06:09 PM gHale

After receiving information a worker had suffered severe injuries after being crushed between two machines, Youngstown, OH, steel mill, Vallourec Star, is facing a fine of $94,000 for 22 serious safety violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The machine operator suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis, Feb. 27 and has been unable to return to work. The investigation found Youngstown steel mill workers suffered exposure to crushing, amputation and fall hazards.

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“Manufacturers that operate dangerous machinery must be aware of the daily hazards workers face while working with this machinery. Vallourec Star did not prioritize safety,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “No worker should be injured on the job because the company failed to provide the required protections.”

OSHA’s inspection found the full-time operator ended up crushed between an activated transfer paddle and a stationary electrical box in the plant. The injury occurred because the company did not have sufficient procedures to protect workers from moving machinery parts during servicing or maintenance and failed to train workers to recognize hazards and proper machine lockout procedures. Equipment at the mill also lacked adequate machine guards designed to prevent injuries. These hazards are among OSHA’s most frequently cited violations.

Other violations involved failure to protect workers from fall hazards in the mill, including unguarded floor openings, ladderways, and open-sided platforms and staircases that lacked guard and handrails. The company also received citations for using damaged and improperly wired electrical components and forklifts that needed repair.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Vallourec Star produces seamless tubular products, primarily for oil and gas applications. The company has an electric steel mill and two tube rolling mills in Youngstown. A subsidiary of Vallourec USA, the company also operates facilities in Houston and Muskogee, OK.

On July 14 the company received a citations for a serious violation for exposing workers to excessive noise.

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