US Labor Department's OSHA cites brass foundry in Fall River, Wis.,
for failing to protect workers from dust exposure, other violations
FALL RIVER, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Fall River Foundry with 10 safety violations, including three repeat violations for failing to protect workers from metal dust exposure at its brass foundry in Fall River. Proposed fines total $57,600.
"Failing to ensure workers do not exceed permissible exposure limits to metal dust puts them at unnecessary risk of respiratory illnesses and complications," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers are responsible for knowing the hazards that exist in their facilities and taking precautions to keep workplaces safe and healthful. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."
OSHA opened an investigation on Aug. 25, 2011, under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Primary Metal Industries, which focuses on identifying, reducing and eliminating worker exposures to harmful chemical and physical hazards in establishments producing metal products.
The repeat violations specifically involve allowing workers to exceed permissible exposure limits for copper and lead dust as well as failing to implement sufficient engineering controls to reduce metal dust exposure, which includes both copper and lead. Fall River Foundry also was cited for these violations in 2009 and 2010. 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.
Seven serious violations include failing to provide annual respirator fit tests, maintain eating areas free of metal dust, require workers to remove clothing with possible metal dust contamination prior to taking lunch breaks and provide forklift training. Additionally, several of the violations relate to OSHA's lead standard, including failing to provide sufficient engineering controls to reduce lead exposure, provide warning signs in areas where lead is present and train workers on the hazards of silica, a component of lead. 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.
Prior to this inspection, Fall River Foundry had been inspected by OSHA eight times since 1987, resulting in citations for 28 violations.
Fall River Foundry has 15 business days from receipt of its most recent 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.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.