March 20, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Lead overexposures and other health and safety hazards at a Troy, N.Y., factory have led to $119,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ross Valve Manufacturing Inc., a manufacturer of steel and brass valves, was cited for a total of 40 alleged violations of health and safety standards following an OSHA inspection begun Sept. 22, 2006, in response to an employee complaint.
"The employer did not take required steps to minimize employee exposures to excess concentrations of lead during grinding operations," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "These and other conditions, if left uncorrected, leave employees vulnerable to potential crushing injuries, burns, lacerations, disease and death."
The company was issued one willful citation, with a $49,000 proposed fine, for the lead overexposures and lack of exposure controls. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Lead is a systemic poison and a leading cause of workplace illness. Overexposure can damage human blood-forming, nervous, urinary and reproductive systems. Detailed information on identifying and preventing lead exposures, including an interactive e-tool, is available online at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html.
Thirty-seven serious citations, carrying an additional $69,500 in proposed fines, were issued for: failure to conduct lead monitoring, provide protective clothing and follow basic lead hygiene procedures; silica dust overexposure and lack of controls; lack of eye, hand and foot protection; deficient selection, use and care of respirators; an incomplete noise monitoring program; failure to implement a hazard communication program and training; lack of procedures, training and equipment to prevent the accidental startup of machinery during maintenance; a defective forklift truck and failure to train operators; failure to inspect and remove a defective crane from service; uninspected hooks, slings and chains; unguarded moving machine parts; and ungrounded containers of flammable liquids. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Finally, two other than serious citations, with a $500 proposed fine, were issued for not maintaining a required illness and injury log, and not informing employees about medical records and access.
Ross Valve has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Albany Area Office, telephone (518) 464-4338.
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 assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.