US Labor Department's OSHA cites Heraeus Materials Technology for
overexposing workers to lead, metal at West Conshohocken, Pa., facility
WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Heraeus Materials Technology LLC for exposing workers to dangerously high levels of lead and silver metal, among other violations, at the company's West Conshohocken facility. OSHA initiated an inspection in December 2011 after being alerted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health of a possible exposure. Proposed penalties total $45,265.
"Lead overexposure is a leading cause of workplace illness that can cause adverse health problems, including brain damage, kidney disease and harm to the reproductive system," said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA's Allentown Area Office. "It is critically important that Heraeus Materials Technology takes effective steps to monitor, identify and reduce exposure levels to safeguard its employees' health."
OSHA has cited one repeat violation involving employee exposure to lead above the permissible exposure limit. The citation carries a $27,500 penalty. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for this same violation in April 2010.
Four serious violations involve overexposure to silver metal, inadequate engineering controls to reduce exposure, the lack of an updated written lead compliance program and failing to provide head coverings to workers. The citations carry $17,765 in penalties. 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. Detailed information about OSHA's lead standards can be found at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html.
Based in Hanau, Germany, Heraeus Materials Technology produces conductive pastes at the West Conshohocken facility containing precious and other metals that are used to make circuit boards. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before 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 OSHA's Allentown office; telephone 267-429-7542.
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.
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.