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Pipe Maker Cited for Amputation Hazards

Friday, November 22, 2013

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For the fifth time in five years, a pipe manufacturer in Arkansas has been cited for health and safety violations—this time alleging amputation hazards, federal officials announced.

Welspun Tubular LLC in Little Rock, AR, was cited for two safety and health violations for allegedly exposing workers to possible amputation hazards after a May inspection prompted in part by a complaint.

The inspection was also part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations's national emphasis program on amputations. The proposed penalties total $77,000, OSHA announced Tuesday (Nov. 19).

"Establishing and training workers on safety protocols, along with implementing and enforcing those protocols, are key aspects of any safety and health program," Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock, said in a press release. "To protect workers, this company must comply with OSHA standards."

Welspun Tubular is a subsidiary of Mumbai, India-based Welspun Corp Ltd., the world’s second-largest pipe manufacturer.

Welspun Tubular
Welspun Tubular LLC

Welspun Tubular, a pipe manufacturer in Little Rock, AR, has been cited for the fifth time in as many years by OSHA. This case stems from a complaint about amputation hazards.

The worldwide pipe manufacturer employs over 20,000 people around the world, with about 244 workers at its Little Rock facility, OSHA says. The facility produces up to 300,000 tons of SAW pipe each year, primarily for Fortune 100 Oil & Gas companies.

Two Citations

One willful violation was issued for failing to use listed or labeled electrical equipment in accordance with manufacturer instructions. The violation carries a $70,000 proposed penalty. Willful violations are those that OSHA says are committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

One serious violation, with a fine of $7,000, was cited for failing to install equipment and/or controls to prevent pipes from moving and crushing workers. OSHA says a serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

Welspun has 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings.

The company did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday (Nov. 20).

History of Violations

In April 2009, OSHA issued one serious and one other-than-serious citation related to crushed-by and fall hazards. The proposed $1,875 fine was later reduced to $1,000.

amputation hazards
Welspun Corp.

In December 2010, one of Welspun's employees was crushed to death after becoming trapped between pipes on a conveyor belt. Another worker was injured.

In October 2009, OSHA issued four serious citations related to fall hazards and a $10,000 fine against the company. In April 2010, the case was closed with one serious and one other-than-serious violation and a total fine of $4,000.

The company was issued five serious and 10 other violations in August 2010 related to respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communication, and other hazards. When the case was closed in March 2011, the company received two serious and 10 other violations for a total of $14,600.

Welspun was issued another 25 citations in August 2010 and $88,000 in proposed penalties for allegedly failing to protect workers from struck-by hazards, provide training in hazard communication, provide hepatitis B vaccinations for employees exposed to blood-borne pathogens or other infectious materials, and numerous other safety and health violations. The case was closed in August 2011, resulting in eight serious and 11 other violations and a reduced penalty of $33,250.

After one employee was crushed to death and another was seriously injured in December 2010, OSHA issued a willful citation alleging failure to provide required machine guarding and six serious violations alleging failure to repair open holes in the floor. The employees were trapped between two massive pipes on a conveyor. Proposed penalties totaled $110,100; however, when the case was closed in February 2012, six serious citiations and one other citiation were issued for $49,000 in penalties.


Tagged categories: Hazards; Health and safety; OSHA; Pipeline

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