OSHA Cites McWane for Workplace Hazards at Birmingham

Feb. 26, 2006
Proposes fines totaling $332,000

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited McWane Cast Iron Pipe for 38 safety and health hazards at the company's foundry in Birmingham, AL, leading to proposed penalties totaling $332,700.

McWane Cast Iron Pipe was given 15 days to contest the citations and proposed penalties.

As reported by OSHA, the agency conducted comprehensive safety and health inspections at the foundry last August, under the terms of its site-specific targeting program. That program identifies workplaces with high rates of injuries and illnesses, and is used to inspect an estimated 80,000 work sites in "high-hazard industries."

At McWane Cast Iron Pipe, OSHA issued 10 repeat citations for which the penalties total $242,700. OSHA issues repeat citations in instances when an employer has been previously cited for similar violations and those citations have been finalizes by the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The agency alleges violations that include: " … exposing workers to: silica above permissible levels; 'struck by' injuries from improperly blocked and stacked pipes and from a ladle without safety latches that carried hot molten metal; unguarded machinery, electrical hazards, and falls through unguarded floor openings and platforms."

In the other 28 citations, characterized as "serious" by OSHA, the violations include exposing workers to noise and dust above permissible levels; electrical hazards from damaged equipment; improperly operated forklifts; inadequate lockout-tagout procedures, and an improperly modified front-end loader. "Serious" citations are issued when the inspector alleges "substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazards."

For the "serious" citations, McWane Cast Iron Pipe faces penalties totaling $90,000.