EL PASO, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Texas metal fabricator for repeatedly exposing employees to fall, machine and other safety hazards. OSHA’s most recent inspection of Kyoei Steel LTD – operating as Vinton Steel LLC – found 19 violations. The agency proposed penalties of $364,078.
OSHA investigators opened an inspection of Kyoei Steel LTD on Oct. 18, 2021, after receiving notification from the employer that a worker was treated at a medical facility after suffering second-degree burns to his left hand. Inspectors determined the employee was using a heat torch when oxygen leaked from a hose in poor condition, causing a fire flash in the roll and bearing shop at the El Paso facility. The agency determined the company failed to provide safety devices for welding equipment and exposed workers to fire hazards.
OSHA received an employer report of an amputation injury on Jan. 10, 2022, and a complaint on Jan. 26, 2022, alleging employees were forced to jump approximately 3 feet from a ladder onto a crane platform that had no safety rail system, exposing them to fall hazards.
After 10 incidents in 5 years, including five amputation injuries, OSHA placed Kyoei Steel LTD in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“Placement in OSHA’s Severe Violator Program is a designation given to employers that show disregard for employee safety and health,” said OSHA Area Director Diego Alvarado Jr. in El Paso, Texas. “The company needs to immediately evaluate its facility for safety and health hazards, implement safety procedures and train workers on how to follow those procedures.”
OSHA cited the metal fabricator for two repeat and serious violations for lack of fall protection and lack of point-of-operation guarding on machinery, failure to use lockout/tagout procedures, lack of fire protection and failure to inspect fire extinguishers periodically and electrical hazards. The employer also failed to fit test its employees to wear respirators when entering permit required confined space areas, review permit-required confined spaces annually, and complete entry permits prior to allowing workers to enter such spaces.
Based in Osaka, Japan, Kyoei Steel LTD operates as Vinton Steel in El Paso where the company employs approximately 400 employees represented by United Steelworkers Local 9424.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of 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.
Learn more about OSHA and safety procedures for safeguarding equipment, fall-protection and respiratory protection.