a dangerous business
home
mcwane story
osha
discussion

OSHA Inspection Report: Tyler Pipe
In 1995, McWane subsidiary Ransom Industries bought Tyler Pipe Company in Tyler, Texas. Federal officials say that since its purchase by McWane, Tyler Pipe has stood out as a repetitive violator of safety rules. In this report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, federal inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) detail conditions at the plant, including scarred and disfigured workers, puddles of molten metal on the floor, and poorly lit work areas.

Narrative

Tyler Pipe Company
Inspection #: 300556420

A. Nature and Scope of the Inspection

Reason: this inspection was initiated as a comprehensive inspection, part of the interim target list.

Background: Tyler Pipe has a long history of OSHA complaint and comprehensive inspections with serious and other than serious violations. In the past ten years, 38 citations have been issued for 10 inspections at the Tyler Tx facility, and 28 citations have been issued for 3 inspections at the Allentown PA facility. The citations have included several repeat issues, although each time the citations were more than three years apart and could not be issued as repeat. These included guarding, emergency planning and egress, hazard communication and working surfaces.

Scope: this was a comprehensive safety and health inspection conducted by CSHOs [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] for the south plant, impact molding, impact millroom, N.P. loading dock, ABC Core Building, and other small facilities at the plant. CSHOs [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] conducted the inspection of the north plant, Herman unit, water treatment, several warehouses and other small facilities at the plant. CSHO [REDACTED] covered specific areas of both the north and south plant.

Click here to see a facsimile image of the report.

B. Opening Conference

An opening was conducted with all five CSHOs, [REDACTED] (all mgt., Tyler Pipe), [REDACTED] (union). Credentials were presented and the purpose and scope of the inspection were explained. The OSHA 200 log was reviewed and the LWDI/LWDII rates were calculated. All required elements for the FIRM were covered.

C. Workplace Observations

Tyler Pipe is a gray iron foundry. Throughout the plant, molten metal is seen spilling from the cupolas, bulls and ladles. The forklift trucks transport the metal, and the ground behind the trucks often smokes with puddles of molten metal. Workers are covered with black residue from the foundry sand. Many work areas are dark, due to poor lighting and clouds of sand. Despite all the ignition and fuel sources, exit paths are not obvious. Many workers have scars or disfigurations which are noticeable from several feet away. Burns and amputations are frequent. This facility is located in a relatively small town where jobs are not plentiful. Throughout the plant, in supervisors offices and on bulletin boards, next to production charts and union memos, is posted in big orange letters: REDUCE MAN HOURS PER TON.

Process Information: following is a summary of the plant buildings and the activities conducted in these buildings:

South Plant: a natural gas powered cupola is the center activity. Other activities include iron pouring, shakeout, shot blast, grinding, core setting using formaldehyde, sulfuric acid

Impact Millroom: includes shakeout, grinding, milling

Impact Molding: Molds for the metal are stamped out of sand and resin. Includes return sand system pit, iron pouring operation

ABC Core building: molds are finished and sealed. The process involves the use of isocyanates.

Core Room: storage of cores.

Wade warehouse: includes metal machine shop, work order area and supply area.

Production Finishing Gustin-Bacon Wade: final product finish, machining, drilling

Gustin Bacon Bldg: storage

North Plant: center activity is the cupola. Other activities include iron pourer, shakeout, grinding, shot blast

Mill Room: grinding and milling on cores

Herman Unit Moldmaster: Manufacture molds, milling and drilling

Mold Shop: manufacture of cores using resins, isocyanates, core sand

Water Treatment: treats the waste water from the plant

Machine Shop: mills, lathes, grinders, miscellaneous operations; some maintenance, some production

Electric Shop: plant electricians store supplies and conduct any maintenance that can be done in shop.

Construction Shop: storage area for construction supplies

Pattern Storage: core patterns stored

Engineering Lab: computers and offices

Many violations were found. See OSHA 1-Bs. Upon review of the OSHA 200 logs and 101s, it was noticed that the lost days plummeted in July of 1997. The union was asked about this issue. [REDACTED] stated that this was due to an agreement with Tyler Pipe to assign injured workers to light duty jobs.

Written programs: at this time, there were no currently exposed employees. The company stated that outside services would be used for first aid.

Lockout/Tagout: there were significant inadequacies found. See OSHA 1Bs.

Electrical Safe Work Practices: inadequacies found. See OSHA 1Bs.

Hazard Communication: See OSHA 1B-lack of training.

Emergency Evacuation/Response: significant inadequacies found. See OSHA 1-Bs.

Confined Space: significant inadequacies found. See OSHA 1-Bs.

Training

There were significant inadequacies in training. See OSHA 1-Bs.

Medical Surveillance

Audiometric exams were adequate, but inadequacies were found in medical surveillance for respirator wearers.

Sampling

CSHOs [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] conducted sampling during the initial walkaround 3/29-3/31. Additional sampling was conducted 4/19-4/21/99 and 6/23/99. This was done to allow time for various sampling media to arrive. The 6/23/99 sampling was done in response to an employee complaining of exposure to metals. The CSHOs sampled for ammonia, silica, cobalt, beryllium, molybdenum, cadmium, chromium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, nickel, lead, antimony, vanadium, zinc, triethylamine, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene.

Results: Overexposure to noise: engineering controls cited for levels over 600% dose.

Excessive silica: cited for respirator deficiencies

Most of the other sampled chemicals were found above detection limits, but none were above the permissible exposure limits. No citations were proposed regarding these exposures.

D. Closing Conference

A preliminary closing was held 3/31/99 with all five compliance officers and [REDACTED]. Potential violations were discussed at this time. Rights and responsibilities were covered. All elements required by the FIRM were covered during this meeting.

home / transcript / mcwane story / toothless in washington / workers' comp fraud
cost of workplace injuries / discussion / ny times features / readings & links
press reaction / tapes & transcripts / credits / privacy policy / nytimes.com chat / reporter's chat
FRONTLINE / wgbh / pbsi

photograph copyright ©2003 geostock/getty images - all rights reserved
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

NEXT ON FRONTLINE

The Rise of ISISOctober 28th

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS