Jan. 5, 2015
CS Metals exposes scrapyard workers to dangerous levels of
lead, copper and arsenic fumes at St. Marys, Ohio, facility
OSHA names company severe violator; proposes more than $378K in fines
ST. MARYS, Ohio – Three employees were exposed to dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, iron oxide and copper particles and fumes while torch-cutting steel at a scrapyard operated by OmniSource St. Marys. Their employer, CS Metals Inc., did not provide required personal protective equipment or health monitoring, a June 2014 investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found. OSHA has proposed penalties of $378,070 for five willful, nine serious and two repeated safety violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"CS Metals failed its workers by not providing personal protective equipment and monitoring exposure levels to metal dust, which can cause severe, long-term health effects to the central nervous system and vital organs," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA's investigation found deficiencies with CS Metals' compliance programs for lead exposure, arsenic and other hazardous air contaminants. These violations must stop."
OSHA found CS Metals' workers were not required to shower at the end of shifts to prevent metal particles from being transported. The company also failed to implement engineering controls that would have limited exposure; provide separate containers to dispose of lead-contaminated clothing; and ensure that workers required to wear respirators were clean-shaven. OSHA cited CS Metals for these five willful violations.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA issued citations for overexposure to iron oxide, lack of hygiene and housekeeping practices. In 2010, CS Metals was cited for these same violations at its Birmingham, Alabama, facility. OSHA issues repeated violations when a company was cited for the same or a similar violation at any facility in federal enforcement states within the past five years.
Additionally, CS Metals did not implement an arsenic compliance program, which allowed workers to be overexposed; did not provide properly fitted respirators; and failed to train workers in respiratory protection use and storage. OSHA cited the company for nine serious violations.
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 opened the inspection, which included air and surface sampling, under the National Emphasis Program for Lead after the agency received a complaint that alleged unsafe working conditions. The inspection was expanded to include investigations of the host employer, OmniSource St. Marys, who was cited for three serious violations that carry proposed penalties of $21,000. Nicholas D. Starr Inc., operating as Master Maintenance, was cited for two serious violations, with proposed penalties of $9,000. Master Maintenance is a subcontractor hired by OmniSource St. Marys. All of the violations involved employee lead exposure. View the current citations at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CSMetalsInc_982537_1218_14.pdf
CS Metals is based in Houston and operates numerous facilities throughout Texas, Indiana and Ohio that employ about 80 workers. Three workers were employed at the St. Marys' site.
Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings 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 Toledo office at 419-259-7542.
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.
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Release Number: 14-2272-CHI
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