Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 4


February 27, 2024

US Labor Department cites Selma brick manufacturer for exposing workers to respiratory hazards that can lead to incurable lung disease

OSHA cites Henry Brick Co. Inc. with 11 serious violations, proposes $124K in penalties

SELMA, AL – U.S. Department of Labor safety investigators found a Selma brick manufacturer exposed workers to silica crystalline respiratory hazards that have the potential to lead to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.

The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Henry Brick Co. Inc. – a clay brick manufacturer – with 11 serious citations and proposed $124,212 in penalties. Specifically, the agency found the employer:

  • Exposed workers to airborne concentrations of respirable crystalline silica of up to six-and-a-half times the permissible exposure level.
  • Failed to evaluate and implement engineering controls and work practices to reduce and maintain employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica to or below the permissible exposure.
  • Failed to provide effective training on crystalline silica to employees exposed over the permissible exposure level.
  • Neglected to offer free medical surveillance, at a reasonable time and place, to employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica above the action level for 30 or more days per year.
  • Required employees to wear respirators without first providing training as required.
  • Neglected to fit test or provide medical evaluation for workers required to wear respirators.
  • Allowed employees to work in areas that required respirators without providing a respiratory protection program that met requirements.

"Crystalline silica can be deadly. Workers who are overexposed to it can contract incurable, progressively disabling and sometimes fatal illnesses. This is why employers must take every precaution to protect employees from this danger," said OSHA Area Office Director Jose Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. "Employers with questions about how to develop respiratory protection programs can contact our trained professionals for assistance."

Nearly 2.3 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to silica while on the job. Breathing crystalline silica can cause multiple diseases, including incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death. To help protect workers, OSHA has issued two respirable crystalline silica standards. Learn more about crystalline silica.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupaional Safety and Health Review Commission.

Visit OSHA's website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA's compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.

 

Media Contacts:

Eric R. Lucero, 678-237-0630, lucero.eric.r@dol.gov
Erika B. Ruthman, 678-237-0631, ruthman.erika.b@dol.gov

Release Number:  24-285-ATL (61)