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OSHA Regional News Brief
Region 5

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.



Feb. 3, 2015


Flink Co. exposes workers to hexavalent chromium while cutting stainless steel
OSHA cites Streator, Illinois, company for 8 serious violations

Employer name: Flink Co., 502 N. Vermillion St., Streator, Illinois

Inspection site: 150 Benchmark Drive, Streator, Illinois

On July 23, 2014, an inspection was initiated by the North Aurora Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after receiving a complaint.

Investigation findings: Employees were exposed to hexavalent chromium, an air contaminant known to cause cancer and irritate the skin and respiratory system. A major source of worker exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs during "hot work" such as welding on stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal. Workers at Flink Co. were exposed while performing cutting operations on stainless steel.

A total of eight serious violations were cited including failing to protect workers from exposure to hexavalent chromium and train them in the hazards of working with hazardous materials. An OSHA violation is serious if death or physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Proposed Penalties: $43,120.

Quote: "Worker exposure to hexavalent chromium can easily be reduced by installing proper engineering controls, such as ventilation systems, to remove the air containment from areas where employees work," said Jake Scott, OSHA's area director in North Aurora. "Proper hygiene, personal protective equipment and safe work practices can further reduce employee exposure.

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 North Aurora Area Office at 630-896-8700.

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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 15-98-CHI

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