OSHA Cites Coke Oven Plant for Serious Health and SafetyViolations

June 5, 2001
OSHA has cited the Empire Coke Co., Tuscaloosa, Ala., for 23 serious safety and health violations.

OSHA has cited Empire Coke Co. and proposed penalties totaling $85,075 for 23 serious safety and health violations following January inspections conducted at its Tuscaloosa, Ala. plant.

"The agency inspected this facility, one of the oldest coke ovens in the country, because of its high lost workday injury and illness rates," said William Burke, OSHA''s Birmingham acting area director. "Plant-wide, inspectors found 14 serious health violations and nine serious safety violations."

OSHA issued health citations, with penalties totaling $60,625 for failing to protect employees from overexposure to benzene and coke oven emissions in various operations throughout the plant-regulated areas where overexposures were known to occur and where the company should have had engineering controls or written work practices in effect to reduce exposures.

Also, the company did not properly monitor employee exposure levels and permitted employees to work in the area without approved respirators.

The company''s medical surveillance program was cited for deficiencies. OSHA found that the company was not providing medical examinations and procedures at no cost to all employees.

In addition, those employees examined by a physician were not given all test results and were not advised of medical conditions that might put them at greater risk of injury or illness.

Deficiencies were cited in both the company''s health and safety training programs. The company, OSHA said, failed to properly train employees before assigning them to work in regulated areas and failed to properly train employees to recognize and control hazards associated with energy sources, such as having a lockout/tag procedure in place to ensure that machines were inoperable during maintenance and repair.

Other serious safety citations, with penalties totaling $24,450, included numerous electrical violations and a truck-mounted crane used within four feet of an overhead power line.

"Electrocutions are a leading cause of death in the workplace," Burke said. "A serious citation," he continued, "is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard."

The Empire Coke Co.employs approximately 10,000 workers nationwide, 140 of which are at this location.

by Melissa Martin

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!