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OSHA lauds MLP Steel Everson plant in Scottdale

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Paul Paterra | The Independent-Observer
Lou Lazzaro (front left), an aide to Congressman Tim Murphy, and Rep. Deberah Kula (front right) make a presentation to members of the safety committee of the Laurel Division of MLP Steel. The facility was recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor by being accepted into OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Program.

Safety was the word of the day Sept. 6 at the MLP Steel Plant in Scottdale.

That was used in abundance for a couple reasons, both of which were acknowledged at a special ceremony at the Scottdale plant on Mt. Pleasant Road.

There are two plants that comprise MLP Steel. The Scottdale plant (Fayette Works) produces wire, which can be formed into special shapes, with the Everson plant (known as the Laurel Steel Division) producing heavy duty grating for transportation and highways.

The Laurel Steel Division, located on Brown Street in Everson , was recognized by the United States Department of Labor by being accepted in OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP status places the company among an elite group of small businesses.

MLP Steel is the only company in Fayette County currently holding this status and is one of only 25 in western Pennsylvania to hold this distinction. With this distinction, the company is granted an exemption from OSHA programmed inspections for up to two years.

“It's taken us several years of trying to qualify for this,” explained Jeff Pfeifer, president and C.E.O., of MLP Steel. “Out of that 25 companies (in western Pennsylvania), I don't know how many manufacturers are part of that, a lot of is made up of an assortment of facilities.”

Judy DeWitt, MLP Steel safety director, credited the company's employees for their efforts in achieving this status.

“You guys put in a lot of hard work,” she said. “This would not have been possible without you guys.”

On hand to make presentations were State Rep. Deberah Kula, Lou Lazzaro, a representative from the office of Congressman Tim Murphy and Bryan Brougher, health consultant for IUP, PA/OSHA Consultation.

Lazzaro presented a proclamation on Murphy's behalf to MLP Steel, stating it was the first-time that such a presentation was made to a business in Murphy's congressional district.

“What you have done has been a tremendous accomplishment,” Kula said. “I could tell you in my seven years in office this is the second time I have been at a business in my district that has received this award, so you are an elite group.”

“No worker is safe unless their employer is serious about protecting their workers,” added Brougher. “You‘re fortunate to be working with an employer who is serious about protecting your safety and health...You guys did it the right way. It's an employees' program. You guys did it.”

Brougher presented members of the Laurel Plant safety committee with a flag to commemorate this distinction.

Also honored were members of Fayette Works for working more than 100,000 hours without a lost-time accident with an in-house presentation.

“It all goes to the safety committees at both of these facilities,” Pfiefer said. “It's their diligence that enables us to do this.”

Pfeifer said there are about 100 employees at the two plants combined.

“At one time, this facility was considered to be insured by the state, because of accidents and problems,” Pfeifer explained. “Once all the carriers dump you, the state picks you up at a very expensive fee...Over the last several years, we've really tried to go after this. What we've tried to do is make this company a safer place to work.”

James Philipkosky, MLP Steel chairman, expressed his gratitude to the employees, who were treated to a catered lunch.

“You're attention to your safety has enabled these awards,” he said. “We can only be enablers, but you guys are the ones who executed it.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or ppaterra@tribweb.com.

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