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OSHA Corrects Record on U.S. Minerals

Friday, December 14, 2012

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Abrasives maker U.S. Minerals has paid its $700,000 federal fine in full and has complied fully with the terms of its summer settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA said Thursday (Dec. 13), correcting an error from the day before.

The Dyer, IN-based company, one of the largest U.S. producers of coal slag products, paid the penalties to resolve eight cases that unfolded throughout 2010 at its four plants in Texas, Illinois and Louisiana.

US Minerals
U.S. Minerals

U.S. Minerals has abated all 141 cited violations, OSHA said.

The fine—reduced from more than $1.5 million—and other terms were the subject of a lengthy settlement agreement that U.S. Minerals signed in August with OSHA. The cases comprised a total of 141 willful, repeat, serious and other-than-serious citations involving respiratory protection and other health and safety violations.

The 27-page agreement was reported in Thursday's PaintSquare News.

However, contrary to a statement by OSHA in that report, the company has paid its fine in full, agency spokesman Scott Allen said late Thursday.

Settlement Terms and Compliance

Allen blamed a "miscommunication" among OSHA's area offices for reporting erroneously earlier that U.S. Minerals had not paid its penalty. He apologized for the error.

Allen also said that U.S. Minerals had complied in full with the other detailed, rigorous requirements of the settlement.

Black Magnum Coal Slag Abrasive

U.S. Minerals manufactures Black Magnum Coal Slag Abrasives and other products.

Those requirements include:

  • Hiring a full-time safety manager with the authority to stop work for health or safety concerns and to conduct unannounced inspections each quarter at each facility;
  • Conducting air monitoring at the four plants and establishing a comprehensive medical surveillance program for employees;
  • Asking the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to study employees for any adverse health effects caused by dust exposures at the worksite;
  • Allowing NIOSH to review the Material Safety Data Sheets for U.S. Minerals' products, including Black Magnum Coal Slag Abrasive and Coal Slag Roofing Granules;
  • Hiring a consultant to develop a comprehensive health and safety training program and train employees within six months:
  • Accepting future OSHA inspectors without a warrant; and
  • Providing documents to the agency without subpoenas upon demand.

"We're pleased at the cooperation U.S. Minerals has been providing," Allen said. "We consider the case closed."


Tagged categories: Abrasives; Certifications and standards; Health and safety; Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS); NIOSH; OSHA; Respirators; Respiratory Protection Standard; Silica

Comment from James Johnson, (12/14/2012, 11:27 AM)

This is the expected result from a company that is faced with a government agency that has all the time, all the power and all the money, particularly when that agency knows they will never be allowed to defend themselves in a court of law or be judged by a jury of their peers.

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