Baytown, Texas, steel manufacturer failed to train workers properly and implement audit procedures for metal cutting machine

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OSHA cites JSW Steel (USA) Inc. for 12 violations; $126,000 in fines proposed

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Employees who perform maintenance work on a metal cutting machine must be trained to safely de-energize the machinery and conduct periodic audits of those procedures, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. An OSHA inspection on June 10, 2014, of the JSW Steel (USA) Inc. Baytown facility found the company violated 12 safety requirements. Proposed penalties total $126,000.

'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 has been cited previously 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. 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 was cited 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 was cited for two other violations, with a $2,000 fine, for failure to mount fire extinguishers and replace a missing junction box.

View the citations at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/JSWSteelUSAIncInsp980283.pdf*.

JSW Steel employs approximately 700 workers and produces a variety of steel products at its Baytown facility. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings 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), the agency's Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583 or its Houston North Area Office at 281-591-2438.

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.gov.

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