Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Another McWane Death

Thomas Lawlor, 41, an employee of Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co, died from blunt chest trauma when a pipe weighing several hundred pounds fell on him Thursday night.

The death came as managers from the foundry were preparing for a September trial on charges that they sacrificed the health and safety of employees in the name of production.

Federal prosecutors said the managers ruled the iron pipe company with an iron fist, tampering with evidence at accident scenes, intimidating workers into lying to safety investigators and discharging pollutants into the river.

Among the examples they cited: A worker who died in 2000 after being run down by a forklift with faulty brakes, an employee who lost three fingers using a cement mixer that had its safety guard removed and another who was allegedly ordered not to see a doctor after being scalded by water.

However, in December 2003, workers at the foundry told a Star-Ledger reporter that safety improvements had been made.

Atlantic States is a subsidiary of McWane Industries which was the focus of a 2003 NY Times/Frontline series about the high number of workplace injuries and fatalities at that company's facilities. McWane was indicted in December 2003 in New Jersey for conspiring to violate workplace safety and environmental laws, as well as "obstructing government investigations by lying, intimidating workers and altering accident scenes."

More here.