US Labor Department's OSHA cites Wisconsin's Castalloy Inc. for exposing
its foundry workers to coal tar pitch and formaldehyde
WAUKESHA, Wis. – Castalloy Inc. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 14 safety and health violations as the result of a follow-up inspection at the company's Waukesha foundry on Nov. 28, 2012. The inspection found two repeat violations for allowing workers to be exposed to coal tar pitch volatiles in excess of permissible exposure limits and failing to provide medical surveillance for workers exposed to formaldehyde. OSHA has proposed fines totaling $83,160.
"Castalloy has failed in its responsibility to monitor exposure to hazardous materials and to provide proper respiratory and personal protective equipment to its foundry workers," said Chris Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "Repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health."
The November inspection follows one in February 2011 where the company was cited for exposing workers to both coal tar pitch volatiles above the permissible exposure limit and to formaldehyde above the action level. 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.
Nine serious violations include exposure to formaldehyde in excess of the 8-hour OSHA permissible exposure limit, lack of eye protection for formaldehyde exposure and failing to post restricted warning signs regarding the use of formaldehyde. Other violations involve OSHA's respiratory protection standards, including inadequate respirators for protection from coal tar pitch volatiles, allowing a respirator to be worn with a beard, deficient medical evaluations and changing cartridges without leaving the respirator use area and infrequently changing cartridges. 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.
Three other-than-serious violations were issued involving personal protective equipment, machine safety and an electrical panel. An other-than-serious violation is one that has direct relationship on job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
The steel foundry employs 132 workers. Six of the 13 previous inspections since 1976 have resulted in citations. The last inspection in 2011 was conducted under the primary metal industries local emphasis program. Castalloy Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties 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 Milwaukee Office at 414-297-3315.
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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.