Thursday, July 24, 2003

Oops, McWane Does it Again: Mistakes Are Made

No more than a minute after finishing the posting immediately below this, I come across the following headline:
OSHA investigating Tyler Pipe after worker critically injured

7/24/03 7:36 PM

DALLAS (AP) -- Federal labor officials are investigating an incident at Tyler Pipe earlier this week that left a maintenance worker in critical condition, agency officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into whether proper safety equipment was provided during the incident at the steel foundry early Tuesday that injured David Willis, 46, agency officials in Dallas said.

Willis remained in critical condition late Thursday afternoon at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, said a nursing supervisor.

Ruffner Page, president of Birmingham, Ala.-based McWane Inc., Tyler Pipe's parent company, said Willis suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs.....The incident comes as Tyler Pipe, which employs about 1,700 workers, is trying to repair its reputation for safety violations that have been linked to worker injuries and deaths, many of which were documented by The New York Times and Public Broadcasting Service's "Frontline" earlier this year.
According to Page, the accident occurred
as Willis was doing routine maintenance work on a machine that makes cast iron fittings. The company is still investigating the cause of the accident, but Page said it appears that Willis accidentally flipped a switch that turned the machine on, causing him to become pinned between the machine and an elevated deck.
McWane is, as usual, taking full responsibility for the incident. Noting that the company had just purchased new, supposedly safety equipment, Page said
"I think the message it sends is that, as hard as you work, and as much money as you spend and as much time as you devote to training, sometimes mistakes are made," he said.
Yeah, mistakes are made. Just nothing you can do about it.


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