March 20, 2007
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Phone: (215) 861-5102
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has jointly cited Brey-Krause Manufacturing Co. and L.M. Smoyer Brass Products Inc. for alleged safety and health violations, and is proposing a total of $109,250 in penalties. The Bethlehem companies manufacture bathroom fixtures and accessories as well as automotive accessories.
OSHA initiated its investigation of the companies on Sept. 19, 2006, in response to a complaint alleging employees were exposed to lead hazards in a common foundry area. The companies were issued one willful violation with a penalty of $35,000; 33 serious violations with penalties of $73,750; and one other-than-serious violation with a penalty of $500.
"Overexposure to lead is a leading cause of workplace illness," said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA's area office in Allentown, Pa. "It is vital that the companies correct these hazards to protect their employees."
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. A willful violation was issued because the company failed to adequately monitor employee lead exposure when required.
Serious violations are issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The serious violations include hazardous exposure to lead and cadmium, the lack of a noise monitoring program and unguarded machinery.
The other-than-serious violation is due to the companies' failure to properly record injuries and illnesses.
The companies have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Allentown Area Office, telephone (610) 776-0592.
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.
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