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OSHA Regional News Brief
Region 5

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.



Sept. 16, 2015



OSHA cites dry wall manufacturer for exposing workers to
respiratory, chemical and fall hazards
Violations include exposure to dangerous silica and dust particles, which can cause lung disease

Employer name: Total Wall Inc., 390 Viking Circle, Rio, Wisconsin

Citations issued: Sept. 11, 2015

Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Madison Area Office cited the Rio facility for 15 serious safety violations. OSHA opened an investigation at the company, which produces stucco and dry wall compound for commercial and consumer use, in April 2015 after receiving a complaint alleging workers were exposed to excessive dust and silica. The inhalation of silica and dust particles can lead to the development of disabling and sometimes fatal lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer.

The serious violations include:

  • Exposing workers to excessive silica and airborne dust in the manufacturing of dry wall compound.
  • Lack of a respiratory protection program.
  • Allowing workers to use damaged forklifts.
  • Failing to train workers about the hazardous chemicals used in the workplace.
  • Exposing workers to fall hazards in mixing tanks without standard railings.
  • Unsafe walking and working surfaces.

Quote: "Exposure to silica can be deadly, and limiting that exposure is essential. Every year, many exposed workers lose their ability not only to work, but also to breathe," said Ann Grevenkamp, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers such as Total Wall have a responsibility to protect workers from exposure to this deadly particle which causes hundreds of deaths each year from silicosis - an incurable and progressive disease - as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and kidney disease."

Proposed Penalties: $60,200

View Citations:

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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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 15-1798-CHI

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