Region 3 News Release: USDL: III-99-07-21-062-WP
Wed., July 21, 1999
Contact: Kate Dugan
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Chemical explosion near Allentown killed five, injured two
OSHA ISSUES CITATIONS TO ALTOONA, PA COMPANY FOR LEAD EXPOSURE
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued citations to Amerway, Inc., Altoona, Pa. for alleged violations of safety and health standards and proposed penalties totaling $169,600. The company manufactures solder products primarily for the automotive industry.
According to Robert Syzmanski, area director of the Pittsburgh OSHA office, the company received three willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $156,000; three serious violations which carry a penalty of $12,000; and, two other-than-serious violations with a penalty of $1,600.
"Amerway had employees with elevated blood lead levels that were above the criteria for medial removal and they were not providing these employees with proper medical follow up," said Syzmanski. "This inspection covered all lead-related issues at the facility."
The following deficiencies in the company's lead program were cited as willful violations: failure to conduct air monitoring to determine where employees were exposed to excessive levels of lead; failure to have a complete medical monitoring program for employees with elevated blood lead levels; failure to implement sufficient engineering and/or administrative controls to reduce employee exposure to airborne lead.
The serious violations address other violations of the lead standard including: employees not showering at the end of the work shift and wearing clothing home that was worn during the work shift; deficiencies in the respirator program; failure to provide all necessary personal protective equipment and failure to evaluate the effectiveness of the ventilation systems in reducing lead exposures.
The two other-than-serious violations concern the company's failure to record medically removed employees and lack of noise monitoring.
The investigation was initiated on Jan. 22, 1999 in response to complaints.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH act and regulations.
A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either decide to comply, to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review
The investigation was conducted by the Pittsburgh OSHA office, Rm. 1428, Federal Building, 1000 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222, telephone (412) 395-4903.
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