US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Grede Wisconsin $274,500 for exposing
workers to dangerous respirable dust and other hazards at iron foundry
Company placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program
BROWNTOWN, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC for 28¿including three repeat¿health violations under the national and regional emphasis program on primary metal industries for exposing workers to crystalline silica dust and other hazards at the Browntown iron foundry following an August 2012 inspection. Proposed penalties total $274,500.
"Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries is compromising the safety of its workers by allowing previously cited deficiencies to continue," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to workers' well-being. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job."
The three repeat violations are for exposing workers to respirable dust containing silica above the recommended exposure level, unguarded conveyor tail pulleys and failing to apply energy isolating devices to equipment during service and maintenance. 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. Similar violations were cited in 2010 following an inspection at the company's Berlin plant and in 2009 at the Browntown plant.
A total of 24 serious violations include OSHA's confined space permit regulations; excessive accumulation of sand and dust; unguarded railings; failing to provide adequate personal protective equipment for eyes, hands, and face to protect against metal splash hazards; provide hazardous energy control procedures; provide employees effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area; and provide employee representatives with access to exposure records within a reasonable time frame. Several violations were cited regarding respiratory protection, including a lack of medical evaluations, fit testing and training. 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.
One other-than-serious violation was issued for not allowing OSHA representatives prompt access to employee exposure records. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA has placed Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=4503.
Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries employs about 200 workers at the Browntown facility, which specializes in the production of castings in ductile and gray iron and is operated by Southfield, Mich.-based Grede Holdings LLC, which has 21 facilities in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Since 2010, the company has been inspected by OSHA 20 times, resulting in numerous violations, including seven issued in November 2012 after a follow-up inspection at its Berlin plant.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GredeWisconsinSubsidiariesLLC_551899_0201_13.pdf*.
The 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 Madison Area Office at 608-441-5388.
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.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.