April 14, 2015
OSHA and Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries reach comprehensive settlement
agreement over violations at foundry
Company to abate all hazards, implement unprecedented safeguards to protect workers
Employer name: Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC, Browntown, Wisconsin.
Date investigation initiated and what prompted inspection: On Oct. 10, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Madison Area Office initiated an inspection at the Wisconsin Grede Subsidiaries. OSHA found that workers at the foundry were being exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust and the company failed to train them on hazards and ensure respirators were fitted properly to minimize exposure.
Worker inhalation of silica particles can lead to the development of disabling lung diseases, such as silicosis and cancer. The company was cited for similar hazards in March 2014.
Resolution: Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries has signed a comprehensive settlement with OSHA to resolve the health violations at the company's facilities in Browntown, Wisconsin.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company will abate all health hazards identified by OSHA, which include three repeated and one serious violations for failing to properly fit and train workers for respirator use and failing to train workers about hazardous chemicals found in the workplace. Grede will also pay $98,000 in OSHA penalties by May 30, 2015.
Grede has agreed to several additional measures to improve compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and better protect its employees.
"These citations reflect that the company still has some ground to cover in its efforts to modernize the facility and management systems. However, OSHA has seen significant improvements in commitment to safety under the new ownership," said Chad Greenwood, OSHA Assistant Area Director in Madison. "OSHA is encouraged by the efforts made to date and the quick response of the company to commit to further improvements, improve training and safety procedures and address equipment and facility processes that have the potential to expose workers to hazards."
Grede has agreed to the following:
- Hire a short term safety specialist to focus on specific program improvements
- Reduce employee's potential for exposure to silica, by obtaining an engineering report for the basement conveyor to reduce sand spillage by the end of 2015, and adopt feasible engineering controls. Additionally, the company will purchase a high-powered mobile vacuum truck for sand clean-up projects.
- Conduct safety stand downs for employees, and issue safety bulletins on respirator use and fitting as well as silica hazards and provide OSHA documentation that employees have received such training.
- Install software to track safety training
- Issue employees cards identifying their rights to report/refuse to work in unsafe conditions
The Browntown facility became a Grede plant in 2010. Similar violations were cited at the Browntown plant in both 2012 and 2014, many of the past citations involved different ownership.
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.
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Release Number: 15-493-CHI
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