Foundry Workers Idle as OSHA, EPA, Union and Tyler Pipe Negotiate

Approximately 500 workers at Tyler Pipe in Tyler, Texas are waiting to hear if and when they can return to work. The company shuttered the facility on Oct. 18 until it could be returned to compliance with EPA regulations.

But that's not all of the company's troubles. On Nov. 14, representatives from OSHA, the company and the United Steel Workers of America met to try to resolve some of the issues that led OSHA to cite the facility. Although OSHA Area Director Kathryn Delaney told the Tyler Morning Telegraph the meeting was "fruitful," she added that Tyler Pipe and OSHA have not come to terms on the latest round of citations and fines issued to the company.

An inspection in May resulted in four serious violations for failing to keep aisles clear, failure to provide guardrails on the open side of a platform, not taking measures to prevent employees from entering an area where they could be exposed to molten metal, and failure to conduct periodic inspections or conduct timely repairs of dipping and coating equipment with fines of $17,000.

Tyler has a history of problems with OSHA, causing Delaney to say the company had, in the past, developed a pattern of noncompliance with occupational safety and health regulations, though she noted some improvement in recent years.

David Green, president of Tyler Pipe, said this is just one of three recent OSHA investigations, and that the company is working with the agency to resolve the other two. He called the meeting "positive," adding, "We look forward closing out the remaining two inspections. We appreciate the hard work of our employees and OSHA in their efforts to improve the safety performance and environment at Tyler Pipe Company and applaud their success."

Green said the company is seeking air permits and plans to make modifications to the facility to bring it into compliance with EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulations.

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