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Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-1222-ATL
Tues., July 13, 2004
Contact: Roberto Sanchez Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (205) 731-1534 (404) 562-2076
Agency Proposes Over $122,000 in Penalties to Anniston, Ala., Company
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a $122,200 fine against Lee Brass Company for exposing workers to health and safety hazards observed during a January 2004 inspection. The company manufactures brass plumbing fittings and valves, and operates two foundries and a smelter in Anniston, Ala., where approximately 240 workers are employed.
"We must ensure that employers protect their workers from occupational hazards, so that injury and illness rates continue to decline," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $122,200 imposed in this case demonstrates the Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of America's workers."
OSHA issued one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $49,500, for failure to require workers to wear respirators when exposed to lead above permissible levels. The agency also issued citations for alleged serious violations of safety and health standards, with proposed penalties of $72,700. These included failure to implement controls to reduce employee exposure to silica and lead, failure to implement an adequate respiratory protection program, failure to provide required machine guarding, and failure to develop and implement a lockout-tagout program to make machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair.
Lee Brass Company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA conducted the inspection under terms of a partnership with the Molten Metal Industry Employers in Alabama and the Alabama Safe State Consultation Program. Aimed at protecting molten metal industry workers from exposure to silica, lead and noise, the partnership calls for randomly selected inspections of companies in the industry. The work site was inspected by OSHA's Birmingham area office located at 2047 Canyon Rd., phone: (205) 731-1534.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections in fiscal year 2003, an increase of more than 2,000 over FY 2002 inspection levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.gov>. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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