PA Steel Plate Manufacturer Cited for Exposing Workers to Continued Safety and Health Hazards
Conshohocken, PA (WorkersCompensation.com) – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited steel plate manufacturer Arcelor Mittal for eight safety and health – including one repeat – violations at its Conshohocken facility. OSHA initiated an inspection in response to a complaint alleging that workers were being overexposed to metal fumes. The inspection also was conducted as part of OSHA's national emphasis program focused on hexavalent chromium and primary metals. Proposed penalties total $66,300.
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 has been cited 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 were cited 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. More information on OSHA standards and protecting workers is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hexavalentchromium/index.html.
Headquartered in London, England, Arcelor Mittal employs 295 workers at the Conshohocken facility. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Allentown office at 267-429-7542.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.go