US Labor Department's OSHA cites Milwaukee foundry for
exposing workers to lead; fines total more than $108,000
MILWAUKEE – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Centrifugal Acquisition Corp. Inc. of Milwaukee with 13 health violations, including six repeat violations for failing to monitor workers' exposure to lead. The foundry faces penalties of $108,570 following a November 2010 inspection.
"Repeatedly failing to implement respiratory protection and compliance programs to control workers' exposure to lead unnecessarily puts employees at risk for serious health problems," said George Yoksas, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "Employers are responsible for knowing the hazards that exist in their facilities and correcting deficiencies cited by OSHA. No worker should have to risk his or her health for the sake of a paycheck."
Six repeat violations include failing to establish and implement a respiratory protection program; failing to establish a written compliance program to control lead exposure; failing to provide protective clothing; failing to control employees' exposure to lead; allowing four employees to exceed the permissible exposure limit to lead; and failing to provide shower facilities so workers could remove lead prior to leaving the work site. 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.
Prior to this inspection, the company had been cited with 44 violations as a result of two separate inspections in February and November of 2008.
The gravity of the repeat violations places Centrifugal Acquisition in OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. Initiated in 2010, the program is intended to focus on employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations in one or more of the following circumstances: a fatality or catastrophe; industry operations or processes that expose workers to severe occupational hazards; exposure to hazards related to the potential releases of highly hazardous chemicals; and all per-instance citation (egregious) enforcement actions. For more information about the Severe Violators Enforcement Program, visit http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=4503.
Five serious violations include failing to provide adequate eye protection; failing to monitor recirculated air for lead; failing to provide a separate storage facility for workers' clothing to prevent lead contamination; allowing an employee's exposure to lead to exceed the maximum use concentration of the employee's respirator; and having a metal lamp that was not electrically grounded. 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.
Two other-than-serious violations were also cited: failing to maintain surfaces free from lead accumulation and to label containers that stored lead-contaminated clothing. 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.
Centrifugal Acquisition 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. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Milwaukee Area Office at 414-297-3315. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.