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The alleged failure to protect its employees from potential safety and health hazards has brought JSW Steel (USA) Inc. $146,500 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an inspection at the company's facility in Baytown, Texas.
"Failure to implement OSHA's standards and regulations to prevent potential serious hazards will not be tolerated," said Mark Briggs, OSHA's Houston South area director. "It is fortunate in this case that no one was injured."
OSHA's Houston South Area Office began its investigation November 24, 2008, at the company's worksite on East McKinney Road in Baytown following a complaint alleging potential violations of federal safety regulations. The investigation found 29 serious violations, including failing to evaluate the worksite for confined spaces to prevent possible entrapment of employees; to ensure an authorized employee was adequately trained on the methods to control hazardous energy; and to ensure the required machine guarding. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Two repeat citations were issued for failing to conduct an annual inspection of the energy control procedures and to provide machine guarding to protect employees and operator from hazards created by metal slabs moving on roller conveyors. OSHA defines a repeat violation as one where the employer previously has been cited for the same or similar hazard within the past three years.
JSW Steel, which employs about 600 workers at its U.S. operations facility in Baytown, has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston South area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.