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Region 5 News Release: 11-1124-CHI
Aug. 16, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-4807
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Crown Battery Manufacturing Co. in
Fremont, Ohio, for exposing workers to lead; fines total $97,000

FREMONT, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Crown Battery Manufacturing Co. in Fremont for three health violations, which relate to exposing employees to lead hazards. The company faces penalties totaling $97,000 following a February inspection.

"Repeatedly failing to take basic safety precautions to protect workers from known workplace hazards such as lead is unacceptable," said Kimberly Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death."

One willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $55,000, was cited for allowing employees to dry sweep in areas where lead is used and processed. OSHA standards require lead to be removed by a vacuum with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter or other equally effective method. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

One repeat violation, with a proposed penalty of $35,000, involves multiple incidents of overexposing employees to lead and lacking engineering controls for lead exposure. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Prior to this most recent inspection, Crown Battery Manufacturing has been inspected by OSHA 21 times since 1974, and was issued 23 final order citations for violations of the lead standard and four for lack of engineering controls due to lead overexposure. Those four citations were issued in 1980, 1981, 2005 and 2009.

One serious violation, with a proposed penalty of $7,000, was cited for failing to test the under-the-hook lifting device and mark its capacity. The device is used to lift lead that weighs approximately 330 pounds, and not testing or marking the device exposed employees to struck-by hazards. 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.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Toledo Area Office at 419-259-7542. 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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