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Machine Shop Cited for Lead Exposure

Thursday, August 22, 2013

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An industrial parts manufacturer is facing $188,300 in proposed penalties after workers were allegedly exposed to lead, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said.

Spectrum Machine Inc. has been cited with 13 health violations—10 serious and three willful—after a January OSHA inspection at the Ravenna, OH, facility found workers were exposed to lead and copper fumes above permissible limits and did not receive training on lead hazards, OSHA announced Aug. 7.

Spectrum Machine Inc.
Photos: Spectrum Machine Inc.

A January inspection at Spectrum Machine's Ravenna, OH, facility found workers exposed to lead and copper above permissible limits, OSHA said.

Spectrum Machine manufactures industrial bearing parts and operates two facilities in Ohio. The company's Streetboro facility was previously cited in 2006 for 13 violations, including allowing worker exposure to lead in excess of the permissible exposure limit, according to OSHA.

"Failing to monitor worker exposure to airborne metal particles can result in severe illness," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland.

"By failing to develop a lead protection and hazard communication program, Spectrum Machine has demonstrated a lack of commitment to employee safety and health," Eberts said.

Spectrum Machine did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday (Aug. 21).

The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections and focuses on "recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations."

Willful Violations

Willful violations, those committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health, included failure to:

  • Use air sampling to determine if employees were over-exposed to lead ($49,000);
  • Train employees working in an area where there is potential exposure to airborne lead ($49,000); and
  • Develop a written hazard communication program for employees exposed to hazardous chemicals including copper, nickel and tin ($49,000).

Serious Violations

Serious violations, those that occur when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about, included failure to:

lead exposure

OSHA has put the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on "recalcitrant employers."

  • Implement a noise monitoring program to determine if a comprehensive hearing conservation program was required ($3,500);
  • Have a written respiratory protection program for employees who were overexposed to lead and copper and who are required to wear respirators while working on the casting deck ($4,900);
  • Provide a medical evaluation to determine the employees' ability to use a respirator before the employee is fit-tested or required to use the respirator ($3,500);
  • Ensure that employees using a tight-fitting facepiece respirator pass an appropriate qualitative fit test and make sure facial hair did not come between the sealing surface of tight-fitting facepieces and the face ($4,900);
  • Ensure that employees were trained in the use of respirators ($4,900);
  • Establish an energy control program for employees working on furnaces and other equipment ($2,800);
  • Provide an educational program for using fire extinguishers ($2,100);
  • Prevent employee exposure to an airborne concentration of copper in excess of the eight-hour Time Weighted Average concentration of 0.1 milligrams per meter of air and implement engineering controls to reduce exposure to copper ($4,900);
  • Prevent employee exposure to lead at concentrations greater than 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an eight-hour period and implement engineering controls to reduce lead exposure ($4,900); and
  • Provide the required respirators for employees exposed to lead ($4,900).

Spectrum Machine has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

   

Tagged categories: Hazard Communication Standard (HCS); Hearing protection; Lead; OSHA; Respirators

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