Drawing from public documents and interviews with numerous past employees, the joint investigation charged McWane's management with being callously indifferent to worker safety in its quest to ramp up production. Reporters cited some 4,000 injuries in McWane foundries and nine deaths since 1995 owing to safety hazards that have resulted in more than 400 OSHA violations. (McWane purchased Tyler in 1995.) Last July, Tyler Pipe paid a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to violations leading to a worker's death in its Tyler, Texas plant. "Frontline" reported that even larger fines had been levied against other McWane plants.
The New York Times focused mainly on Tyler Pipe, while "Frontline" also depicted a pattern of safety hazards and management malfeasance in other McWane plants, including Kennedy Valve in Elmira, N.Y., Union Foundry in Anniston, Ala., and McWane Cast Iron Pipe Co. in Birmingham.
The complete report, including McWane's response, can be accessed at the "Frontline" Web site.