The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalized U.S. Steel Corp. $170,000 for giving tasks to seven employees that exposed them to asbestos at the coke production facility in Pittsburgh. In February, five employees removed and replaced asbestos-containing packing material. In March, two other employees burned and removed a rotten section of expansion pipe which tested positive for asbestos. Both incidents occurred at the company’s direction. Asbestos is well-known for its potential deadly effects from exposure and U.S. Steel was aware of the dangers. Diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis can be contracted by inhalation of the fibers.
This was not the first infraction for U.S. Steel for failure to create a regulated area for handling asbestos as well as failing to notify employees of the presence of asbestos-containing material in their work area as evidenced by an OSHA citation in 2011. Furthermore, the company did not conduct employee training or use proper containment and disposal processes.
Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA’s Pittsburgh Area Office said, “Once again, we have found U.S. Steel Corp. failed to protect its employees from the serious risks of asbestos exposure. Breathing airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung damage that often progresses to disability and possible death. Given the potential danger to the health of its workers, the company must take immediate steps needed to avoid its employees’ prolonged exposure to asbestos.”
The company was given 15 days after receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, ask for a meeting with OSHA’s area director, or dispute the citation in front of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Citations may be viewed here.