March 18, 2016
OSHA cites Montana company for exposing workers to respiratory hazards
Nearly $107K in proposed penalties for 16 serious violations at US Minerals' Anaconda plant
Employer name: U.S. Minerals
Inspection site: 800 Main St., Anaconda, Montana
Citations issued: 16 serious violations
Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 16 serious violations to U.S. Minerals for failing to do the following:
- Select and provide appropriate respiratory protection.
- Implement an adequate respiratory protection program for employees' overexposures to inorganic arsenic, and for lacking engineering and work practice controls to reduce inorganic arsenic exposure.
- Provide appropriate protective clothing and equipment while working with inorganic arsenic.
- Not keeping surfaces as free as practicable of inorganic arsenic and lead accumulations.
- Provide adequate training.
- Have a medical surveillance program for employees exposed to hazardous levels of inorganic arsenic.
Proposed penalties: $106,800.
Quote: "Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy place of employment for their workers," said Art Hazen, OSHA's area director in Billings. "All hazards found in this investigation were avoidable. This employer knew about the existence of arsenic concentrations and should have addressed these hazards accordingly. By failing to do so, this employer placed workers at risk."
Inorganic arsenic: Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment and forms inorganic arsenic compounds when combined with other elements such as oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur. Human activities such as mining, metal smelting and combustion of fossil fuels can release arsenic into the atmosphere and water. It is a known human carcinogen.
The citations can be viewed here*.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, Art Hazen or contest the finding before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Billings Area Office.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Billings Area Office at 406-247-7494.
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Release Number: 16-695-MON
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*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.