OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 5 News Release: 06-873-chi
June 6, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $209,500 in fines against Viasant LLC, Arlington Heights, Ill., for alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety and health standards following an investigation into possible lead exposure to workers at the site of a former battery plant in Kankakee, Ill.
OSHA opened an inspection in February 2006 following receipt of information that Viasant employees were experiencing elevated levels of lead in their blood. The inspection revealed violations of virtually every provision of OSHA's lead standard, according to OSHA Area Director Gary Anderson, Calumet City, Ill.
"Failing to comply with the lead standard not only puts workers at risk, but their families as well," said Anderson. "The health effects of overexposure to lead can be devastating. When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace clean of these dangerous substances, the results can be tragic for workers and their families."
The investigation resulted in citations for seven willful and seven serious violations of federal workplace safety and health regulations, including the failure to comply with OSHA's respirator, cadmium and lead standards. OSHA is alleging that Viasant failed to provide medical protection benefits and training for workers, failed to monitor for lead and cadmium, did not provide employees with respirator fit tests, failed to provide clean changing rooms, a clean lunch room or showers for employees exposed in excess of permissible exposure limits for lead, among other violations.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal 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 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. The U.S. Department of Labor 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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