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Region 2 News Release: 10-1415-NEW (osha 10-205)
Oct. 12, 2010
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Jersey City, NJ, metal recycler more than
$188,000 for exposing workers to lead and other workplace hazards
JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations to Simsmetal East LLC, doing business as Sims Metal Management, for exposing workers to lead hazards at its Claremont Terminal site in Jersey City. Proposed penalties total $188,500.
"Simsmetal East knowingly put its workers at risk by failing to protect them from overexposure to lead, which can cause brain damage, paralysis, kidney disease and even death," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office in New Jersey. "OSHA is fully committed to holding this company legally accountable for its blatant disregard of federal law."
Following its investigations, OSHA cited the company for three willful violations with a penalty of $165,000 for allegedly failing to fit-test workers using tight-fitting, face-piece respirators prior to initial use of the respirator; make an initial determination if workers were exposed to unhealthy levels of airborne lead; and ensure all surfaces were maintained free of lead accumulations. Willful violations are those committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for legal requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The company was cited for 10 serious violations with a penalty of $23,500 for allegedly overexposing workers to lead; failing to fully implement a respiratory protection program; dry sweeping lead containing dust; failing to provide a clean change room, lunchroom facility and separate storage facilities for work clothes; and failing to provide a closed container in which to place lead-contaminated protective clothing.
Additional serious citations allege electrical equipment exposed to physical damage; conductors not protected from abrasion; an electrical cord missing a ground pin, which intentionally directs circuits toward the ground to prevent electrical shock, injury or death; lack of strain relief, which prevents damage on cords in use; and lack of visual inspection and hazards associated with safely exiting the facility. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany office; telephone 973-263-1003. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.
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