OSHA Finds Amputation Hazards at Welspun, Proposes $77,000 Fine

Welspun Tubular LLC in Little Rock has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor for exposing workers to possible amputation hazards, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines totaling $77,000.

Most of the proposed fine, $70,000, is for what OSHA called a "willful violation" in which the pipe manufacturer was cited for failing to use listed or labeled electrical equipment in accordance with manufacturer instructions. The remaining $7,000 fine was proposed for what OSHA called a "serious violation" for failing to install equipment or controls to prevent pipes from moving and crushing workers.

The investigation that resulted in Tuesday's announcement was begun in May and is separate from a previous fine for an accident in 2010 in which a worker was crushed to death. In that case, $82,100 in proposed fines was eventually reduced to $49,000, and a violation that was initially classified as willful was reclassified as "other." 

David Delie, president of Welspun in Little Rock, could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday's announcement.

According to the OSHA announcement, Welspun currently employs about 244 workers in Little Rock. In recent testimony before Congress, Delie noted that Welspun had employed more than 800 at its peak.

"Establishing and training workers on safety protocols, along with implementing and enforcing those protocols, are key aspects of any safety and health program," Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock, said in the announcement. "To protect its workers, this company must comply with OSHA standards."

Tyson Foods Facing Fine

OSHA has also alleged workplace safety violations at a Tyson Foods Inc. plant in Buffalo, N.Y.

OSHA said Tuesday that inspectors found that plant workers are exposed to electrocution, burns and potential falls. The agency is proposing a $121,720 fine.

Springdale-based Tyson said it is reviewing the citation and is likely to contest the findings. The company said safety in the workplace "is a cultural value" at all Tyson Foods operations.

Tyson — the nation's largest meat producer — has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)