OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
News Release USDL: 95-205
Thursday, June 8, 1995
Contact: Deborah Page Crawford, (202) 219-8151
Midwest Metallics, L.P., Agrees To Pay $1 Million In Fines Following OSHA Investigation Of Scrap Metal Recycler
Midwest Metallics, L.P., a scrap metal processor, has agreed to pay $1,000,000, in penalties proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and make significant improvements at its four operating facilities in the Chicago area. The agreement follows an inspection by OSHA in response to the Dec. 2, 1994, death of a company employee.
"The health and safety of America's workers is one of our highest national priorities," said Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich, "not only at Midwest Metallics but at all six million workplaces in this country."
"Proposed House and Senate budget resolutions to cut OSHA's funding would totally devastate our efforts to fulfill OSHA's Congressionally mandated mission of assuring safe and healthful working conditions, "said Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Dear.
Midwest Metallics was recently purchased and many of the hazards identified during this investigation existed prior to the new ownership.
Midwest Metallics, the largest auto scrap recycler in the midwest, has more than 200 employees who are represented by the United Steelworkers of America and the Teamsters. Its four facilities are located in Joliet, McCook, Argo and Stoney Island.
The OSHA area office in Calumet City conducted the inspection following a Dec. 2, 1994, fatal accident involving a forklift truck at its Joliet facility.
On Dec. 7, 1994, OSHA began a followup inspection to citations issued previously at the McCook facility for failure to conduct initial atmospheric lead monitoring. The investigation revealed that employees were exposed to lead at levels as high as 24 times the permissible exposure limit (PEL), 10 times the PEL for cadmium and above the action level for arsenic. Virtually no protection was available to the employees.
Other major hazards cited related to poorly maintained industrial trucks.
In addition to correcting the cited hazards and paying the $1,000,000 penalty, Midwest Metallics has agreed to:
abate all items of the citation;
conduct comprehensive safety and health audits at all four locations to identify and eliminate any and all hazards;
develop an action plan for each facility to respond to the findings of the audits;
develop and implement a comprehensive, ongoing safety and health training program covering all facilities.
OSHA is authorized by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to ensure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
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