What’s new in the world of steel pipe?
On Thursday, the US Department of Justice said it had indicted seven former employees at a Houston pipe company over the deaths of two workers who died from the toxic metal.
The indictment charges eight former employees with criminal violations, including negligence, causing death by reckless conduct and conspiracy.
The indictments were announced as steel pipes are being used to replace the crumbling steel in parts of the United States and the world, with more than a billion pipe pipes expected to be used in the next two decades.
In January, US officials revealed that the company responsible for the pipe collapse, Erw Steel, had agreed to a $4.8 billion settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a case that stemmed from the deaths.
In May, the EPA released its final report on the collapse of the pipe, which said that the pipe had not been properly designed and built.
Erw was found guilty of “failure to maintain adequate controls on the production and use of steel products”, according to the report.
The company has not commented on the indictments.
Erw is one of several companies accused of failing to take adequate steps to prevent the deaths from occurring in the first place.
In April, a US court ordered the collapse-proofed steel pipe company to pay a $1.5 billion settlement to the families of two men who died after being crushed by the pipe.
The government has also accused the company of failing “to adequately monitor the quality of steel that was being used for its pipe”.