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Region 6 News Release: 11-940-DAL
July 26, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Todd   Juan Rodriguez
Phone: 972-850-4710   972-850-4709
Email: todd.elizabeth@dol.gov   rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Pearce Foundry in Prairieville, La.,
for exposing workers to excessive levels of respirable silica, other hazards

PRAIRIEVILLE, La. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pearce Foundry Inc. in Prairieville for 39 serious and two other-than-serious health and safety violations, including exposing workers to respirable silica. Proposed penalties total $158,200.

"This company jeopardized the health of its workers by exposing them to respirable silica above OSHA's established limits," said Dorinda Folse, director of OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office. "Long-term exposure to silica can lead to disabling illnesses."

OSHA's Baton Rouge office began its inspection Feb. 7 at the company's facility on Airline Highway where employees were manufacturing high-alloy metal castings for use in the dredging and mining industries.

Serious violations include failing to ensure levels of respirable silica met safety standards; maintain eating and drinking facilities free of hexavalent chromium; conduct annual audiograms and provide training on the use of hearing protection; conduct initial and annual respiratory fit tests and training on the use of respirators; properly maintain powered industrial trucks and overhead cranes; train employees on the health hazards of respirable silica, metal dust and fumes; and properly store compressed oxygen and acetylene gases. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Other-than-serious violations relate to failing to properly install and maintain electrical equipment. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Pearce Foundry is a metal casting facility that employs about 30 workers and specializes in high durability iron, steel, stainless steel, high alloy and ductile castings. It is a subsidiary of Prairieville-based The Pearce Group Inc.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Baton Rouge office at 225-298-5458. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (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 ensure 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.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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