Last week, a fire technician was found lifeless in a control room located at TimkenSteel’s Faircrest plant. He was unable to be resuscitated. An investigation from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) showed the worker was exposed to too much nitrogen.
According to the readings from OSHA and the local fire department, the oxygen levels in the control room were less than 4 percent. However, suffocation usually occurs at oxygen levels of 19.5 percent and lower, according to OSHA’s press release. OSHA’s investigation showed the nitrogen used in the plant had somehow leaked into the control room. This created an oxygen-deficient atmosphere. TimkenSteel’s plant and other companies are supposed to have nitrogen systems that detect oxygen deficiencies, as nitrogen is well known to displace oxygen.
This is Not the First or Only TimkenSteel Safety Violation Resulting in Injury or Death
In a previous blog, we wrote about a worker who fell 40 feet while he was performing maintenance on a crane. He survived the fall, but TimkenSteel is on OSHA’s radar as a company that consistently puts its workers in danger. In fact, OSHA put TimkenSteel on the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program following a struck-by fall and an amputation at two separate plants. However, OSHA has been met with appeals every time it issues TimkenSteel a citation following a worker’s injury or death.
In 2015, a worker at TimkenSteel received serious injuries when the safety latch on a crane failed to work properly, dropping more than 1,000 pounds onto the worker. OSHA fined the company more than $393,000. The year prior, TimkenSteel received $77,000 in safety violations, including unguarded drops and exposing the moving parts on machinery. Later that year, two workers would die as a result of a crane accident. In 2013, the company was cited for two separate incidents for a lack of machine guards on belts, exposed moving parts on machines and a whole list of repeat violations from 2011, 2009 and 2007. The list of problems in workplace safety is ongoing for TimkenSteel and the company refuses to back down on citations and refuses to make significant changes to its plants.
TimkenSteel Consistently Puts Workers in Dangers by Violating OSHA Safety Regulations
TimkenSteel is currently facing roughly $500,000 in OSHA fines. From 2005 to 2014, the company has been issued 76 violations, not including any violations from last year. This is unacceptable. TimkenSteel released statements saying it addressed every safety violation OSHA identified, but if that is the case, why are workers still dying at TimkenSteel plants?
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