Texas Pipe Manufacturer Cited for Recordkeeping Violations

Saw Pipes USA Inc. was cited by OSHA for failing to properly document recordable injuries and illnesses on the same day the agency released its revised recordkeeping rule.

Failure to properly document recordable injuries and illnesses over the past three years has resulted in a $536,000 proposed penalty for a Texas pipe manufacturer, said OSHA.

Saw Pipes USA Inc. was cited for 67 alleged willful violations of the recordkeeping rule at its Baytown, Texas, facility.

The citations and proposed penalties represent one of the largest cases of recordkeeping violations over the last decade.

The last major recordkeeping enforcement case involved U.S. Denro Steel Inc., a steel manufacturer also located in Baytown, Texas. The company was cited last October for 122 willful instance-by-instance violations of the recordkeeping rule and assessed penalties of $1,098,000.

OSHA began its inspection of the Saw Pipes USA facility in July 2000. An initial inquiry revealed numerous problems with the company''s injury and illness logs and resulted in a detailed probe of the company''s recordkeeping procedures, including their OSHA logs between 1998 to 2000.

Employers with more than 10 workers must maintain records of workplace injuries and illnesses to help improve management of safety and health hazards.

Based on that inspection, OSHA issued 66 alleged willful instance-by-instance violations for failure to record each work-related injury and illness.

A total of $528,000 in proposed penalties was assessed.

One additional willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $8,000 was issued for 16 instances where the employer failed to correctly record work-related injuries and illnesses.

Ironically, this case came on the very day OSHA issued its revised recordkeeping standard.

Former OSHA Administrator Charles Jeffress said proper recordkeeping is not only critical to keeping employees safe, but it also helps OSHA identify high-hazard industries and worksites and aids in helping determine where regulatory efforts should be directed.

"Accurate records help reduce injuries and illnesses by helping an employer to pinpoint the hazards that cause them in the first place," said Jeffress. "When an employer fails to keep proper records, or simply neglects the responsibility altogether, then he or she has placed employees at risk. That is precisely what Saw Pipes has done in this case, and it cannot be tolerated."

Saw Pipes USA employs 112 workers and manufactures large carbon steel pipes, used mainly for oil and gas transmission.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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