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EVRAZ steel mill pays out thousands for safety violations following explosion

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel in Pueblo paid out tens of thousands of dollars in fines following last year's explosion at the site's steel mill. Eight employees were injured as a result of the May 29th explosion.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration division within the Department of Labor, the explosion happened when a cooling panel leaked a large quantity of water into molten steel causing an explosion. OSHA records obtained by 13 Investigates show at least three employees suffered from severe burns.

13 Investigates learned OSHA regulators issued five "serious" safety violations against Colorado Fuel & Iron Steel (CF&I Steel), a fully owned subsidiary of EVRAZ North America.

According to the regulators, EVRAZ failed to implement effective controls to prevent the introduction of water into the molten metal with the furnace. The employer also failed to identify and guard the hazard zones near the furnace. As a result, OSHA regulators say employees were exposed to thermal and "struck-by" hazards.

"The hazard zone on and around the furnace was not clearly marked and there were no physical guards to prevent workers from entering the furnace area during operations," OSHA regulators wrote in their report.

OSHA reached an informal settlement with the mills in Pueblo totaling $40,959.

In a statement to 13 Investigates from EVRAZ NA, a spokesperson said the following:

"EVRAZ NA has met all required abatement actions to date as a result of the OSHA violations. We have made the required improvements to equipment, process, and procedures at the facility. Beyond the requirement, we worked with employees to identify additional areas that would improve the safety and health of our team."

This is not EVRAZ NA's first time facing safety violations from OSHA, and subsequently paying fines.

An OSHA regulator tells 13 Investigates EVRAZ NA has already taken 'considerable corrective actions following the explosion. OSHA says EVRAZ has until late February to complete the remaining corrective items at their Pueblo site.

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. And Biden expects OSHA to effectively manage CO-VID mandates effectively? They can’t even make this place safe for their workers and these standards have been in place far longer than the Mandate currently under review by the Supreme Court. All they do is fine them, does nothing for the workers that are injured or worse.

      1. I agree KEL, but that is science and therefore not relevant to the mandates and restrictions. But then no one would be working because everyone will get it, which is why the CDC is desperately attempting to lower the isolation period to nothing. Again showing it is not about “best scientific practices”, but “financial gain”.

    1. That is basically the limit of their power and authority. They can shut down a worksite for severe safety violations, but they cannot shut down a company entirely. Only a court has that authority. OSHA can make it very painful for a company that disregards/violates worksite safety regulations by issuing citations/fines for violations.

      OSHA does not have enough personnel/inspectors to visit/monitor every worksite in the U.S. Outside of the periodic re-inspections of past violators, a worksite or company will usually only be visited when a safety/health complaint (or two) has been lodged against that employer.

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