US Labor Department's OSHA cites California-based Toxco for lead
overexposure, other serious violations at Lancaster, Ohio, plant
LANCASTER, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Toxco Inc. for 14 serious safety and health violations at the company's battery recycling facility in Lancaster, including failing to protect workers from overexposure to lead and cadmium. Proposed penalties total $59,400.
"Employers, especially those in industries where there is an inherent risk, have an obligation to protect their workers from exposure to dangerous chemicals," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's Columbus Area Office director. "It is imperative that employers make the commitment to safety and health to ensure that employees are not continually exposed to hazards such as these."
OSHA initiated an inspection Feb. 1 as a part of the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to industries with high injury and illness rates. The violations found involve allowing workers to be exposed to lead at up to eight times the permissible exposure limit and to cadmium at more than twice the permissible exposure limit during an eight-hour period. Other violations include failing to install engineering controls and implement work practice controls to maintain workers' exposure at levels below the permissible exposure limits, as well as monitor exposure levels on a periodic basis and repeat monitoring as needed. The company also has been cited for failing to evaluate the facility's ventilation system and implement an effective respiratory protection program. 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.
Headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., Toxco Inc. maintains recycling facilities in California, Tennessee and British Columbia as well as Lancaster and Baltimore, Ohio. Toxco specializes in battery recycling and has been subject to four previous OSHA inspections including a 2003 inspection at its Baltimore, Ohio, site that resulted in citations for six violations. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its current 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 Columbus office at 614-469-5582.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.