US Labor Department's OSHA cites New Hampshire foundry with
long violation history for willfully exposing workers to lead hazards
Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry faces nearly $186,000 in fines
CONCORD, N.H. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry Inc. with four alleged willful and serious violations of workplace health and safety standards, chiefly involving a failure to protect workers from exposure to lead. The foundry, located in Franklin, faces a total of $185,900 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Concord Area Office that was opened in January to verify the abatement of hazards cited by the agency in 2009.
This most recent inspection found two employees exposed to excessive levels of lead during foundry operations as well as a lack of sufficient engineering controls to reduce lead exposure levels. Management also failed to conduct additional lead exposure monitoring when alloys with higher lead content were used and the ventilation system was not working. In addition, management failed to regularly measure the ventilation system to gauge its effectiveness in controlling lead exposure, and respirators were not used when required.
These conditions led to OSHA issuing citations with $181,500 in proposed penalties for three willful violations. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
"This employer is well aware of the necessary procedures to safeguard workers against lead exposure hazards, having been cited for 62 violations of OSHA's lead standard since 1998, yet has chosen again to disregard them," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director in New Hampshire. "The sizable fines proposed here reflect not only the severity of these hazards but this employer's clear knowledge of and failure to address them."
A citation with a $4,400 fine has been issued for one serious violation involving employees being overexposed to airborne copper fumes during pouring operations and a lack of controls to reduce the exposure level. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA has placed Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry Inc. in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
Citations in this case can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/FranklinNon-FerrousFoundry_111399_0717_12.pdf*. Franklin Non-Ferrous Foundry Inc. has elected to contest its citations and proposed penalties to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Concord office at 603-225-1629.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.