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OSHA investigating Wolverine complaint

By Eric Fleischauer 340-2435

Wolverine Tube Inc.'s Decatur plant is under investigation for alleged safety violations, an official with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed Monday.

"We had a complaint, and we're doing an investigation," said Harold Ciancio, assistant area director at OSHA's Birmingham office.

"It's going to be a big inspection, so it's going to take some time."

The OSHA investigation began as the result of a complaint from an employee or former employee, not an injury, Ciancio said.

But the complaint appeared to coincide with an injury.

Last week a temporary Wolverine employee was hospitalized after sustaining broken ribs and a bruised lung. Senior Vice President Jed Deason said the employee was injured while attempting to perform maintenance on a press. The employee was not authorized to perform the maintenance, Deason said.

Ciancio, who said his
OSHA team is performing the investigation, declined to give details on the matter because the investigation is ongoing.

"Having OSHA investigations is not an unusual matter," said Deason.

"We've had the OSHA investigator there for a couple of days. He has just about completed his field review, as we understand it. At this point in time, there have been no citations issued."

He said the next step is for OSHA to interview employees.

"It is a thorough review of the facility," Deason said. "My impression was that, based on what (the investigator) had seen, he's not overly concerned."

The Decatur plant has 400 permanent and 120 temporary employees. The company's headquarters are in Huntsville.

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