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Region 7 News Release: OSHA/05-821-KAN
Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Contact: Norma J. Conrad
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Lee Mechanical Contractors Inc., Park Hills, Mo., for allegedly failing to ensure appropriate protective programs were in place for employees working in a lead contaminated environment. Proposed penalties total $113,000.
OSHA inspectors found approximately 50 temporary employees, without a proper respiratory protection program, welding in an environment known to produce significant air lead exposure levels. Lee Mechanical hired the workers for a construction project at the Doe Run lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo.
"This employer failed to provide respirator fit testing for temporary employees and allowed them to work in a lead contaminated environment for about two weeks,"said OSHA Regional Administrator Charles E. Adkins, CIH. "The significant penalty of $113,000 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of America's workers."
OSHA cited the company for two alleged willful and seven alleged serious violations. The willful citations charge that the firm did not fit test employees who wore respirators and failed to provide follow-up blood lead level testing or written results of blood lead level tests to lead-exposed employees.
The serious citations alleged the firm's written respirator program was not in compliance with OSHA regulations and personal air monitoring was not conducted. Other deficiencies included inappropriate respirators, blood lead testing not provided every two months, and failure to train employees on proper respirator selection and fit testing and to inform them of their rights to medical and exposure records.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations. OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition, and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Lee Mechanical Contractors has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. 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. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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