EH&S Insider Blog

OSHA CITES BUSINESS FOR EXPOSING WORKERS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH SKILLS

Whistleblower investigation pending after termination of 2 workers.

Whistleblower investigation pending after termination of 2 workers at St. Louis steel plant.
 

ST. LOUIS — Two years after a worker died by electrocution at a steel plant owned by St. Louis Cold Drawn, inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the company continues to expose its workforce, predominantly consisting of Asian immigrants with limited English speaking skills, to amputationelectrical and other hazards daily.

Responding to a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions, OSHA cited St. Louis Cold Drawn Inc. for two willful, seven repeated and 22 serious safety and health violations on Dec. 28. Proposed penalties total $366,300.

During the investigation, one worker alleged that management fired him after he spoke to OSHA officials, and another said the company terminated him for alerting management to safety hazards. The agency has opened a whistleblower investigation.

"Any hazards at the company are inexcusable, especially following OSHA's intervention after a worker died by electrocution in 2013," said Bill McDonald, OSHA's area director in St. Louis. "St. Louis Cold Drawn continues to exploit its non-English-proficient workforce by exposing them to unsafe working conditions. The company needs to make fundamental workplace changes to comply with the law and protect employees."

OSHA's investigation also found that in September 2013, a non-English-speaking production line operator suffered the amputation of his finger because the machine lacked adequate guarding. In 2014, another worker experienced severe lacerations when he touched moving machine parts.

Agency inspectors found numerous violations, including the following:

View current citations here.

St. Louis Cold Drawn employs approximately 90 workers and has a second facility in Mexico. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

 

Want to learn more about Whistle Blower Protection? See our article OSHA Announces Final Rule on Procedures for Handling Retaliation Compliants Under Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

 

Need to provide training in a foreign language?

        ↓

 

 

Topics: Whistle Blower Protection Safety Training Foreign Languages