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OSHA News Release – Region 5
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 5 News Release
October 6, 1999
Contact: George Yoksas
Proposed Penalties: $123,200
OSHA CITES PRAEFKE BRAKE & SUPPLY CORP., WEST BEND, FOR VIOLATIONS INVOLVING WORKER EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS
The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations alleging two willful and ten serious violations of federal workplace health and safety regulations to Praefke Brake & Supply, Corp., 133 Oak Street, West Bend, Wis.
The violations were issued as a result of an on site investigation with penalties for the citations totaling $123,200.
The alleged willful violations addressed the company's failure to comply with the OSHA permissible exposure limit(PEL) for airborne asbestos exposure, failure to provide adequate engineering controls to limit airborne asbestos exposures, and failure to prohibit dry sweeping of asbestos dust and debris.
The alleged serious violations related to OSHA requirements for machine guarding, the asbestos standard, and the hazard communiciation standard. The machine guarding deficiency involved lack of point of operation guarding for riveting machines.
The apparent violations of the asbestos standard included no additional air monitoring when changes were made in the brake pad production process that may result in exposures above the TWA (Time Weighted Average) limit; regulated area not established when airborne asbestos concentrations exceeded the 8 hour TWA limit; no respirators provided to workers as required by the asbestos standard; lack of appropriate work clothing to protect workers from asbestos; workers were permitted to take contaminated work clothing out of the change room; it was not ensured that workers exposed above the TWA limit showered at the end of the workshift; training not provided as required by the asbestos standard; asbestos dust and debris were not disposed in sealed impermeable bags or closed containers; and a medical surveillance program was not provided to all workers who were or would be exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos above the TWA limit.
The apparent violations of the hazard communication standard involved deficiencies in the material safety data sheet which the employer was providing for its workers and for downstream users of asbestos brake pads.
OSHA defines willful violations as those in which the employer knew that a hazardous condition existed but made no reasonable effort to eliminate it and in which the hazardous condition violated a standard, regulation, or the OSH Act.
OSHA defines serious violations as those in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition, and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
According to George Yoksas, area director for the Milwaukee OSHA Office, this inspection was based on an employee complaint which had alleged that workers in the Pad Department were exposed to asbestos dust exposure hazards due to the lack of dust collection and poor housekeeping practices, without provision of respiratory protection or medical examinations.
Praefke Brake & Supply Corp. has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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