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Paint Booth Noise, Dust Leads to Fine

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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A Watseka, IL, metal fabricating plant was investigated on claims that it exposed employees to unsafe levels of metallic dusts, vapors and noise when manually powder coating metal products in two of the company’s paint booths.

After receiving a complaint of unsafe working conditions, inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration allegedly discovered that employees at Lyon LLC were over-exposed to noise and dust hazards in those paint booths, leading to a $76,000 fine.

“Breathing in contaminates can cause long-term damage to the lungs, respiratory system and lead to major health complications,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria, in a statement the agency released Dec. 9.

© / Inga Dronsutaviciene

OSHA has fined Lyon LLC for allegedly exposing its workers to more than six times the permissible dust particle limit in its powder coating process, the agency said in a statement.

“Companies like Lyon must be aware of the hazards associated with metal dust present in its facility and take all actions necessary to control the health risks to employees.”

Agency Inspections

The agency began its inspections in July and wrapped up tests in November, said Bielema. Testing included monitoring the amount of dust particles to which workers were exposed over an eight-hour weighted period, he said.

For example, the OSHA inspectors said they allegedly discovered on Sept. 24 that at least two workers were exposed to dust and particles at more than six times the permissible exposure limit.

OSHA officials also allegedly discovered other violations while examining the dust-particle issues, according to the agency’s statement.

Citation Details

On Nov. 30, the agency cited the company with 15 serious violations—including some that had several sub-components that added up to 26 separate issues—Bielema said.

Among the violations, the agency allegedly found that Montgomery, IL-based Lyon failed to:

  • Administer an effective hearing conservation program;
  • Use gauges or alarms to monitor air velocity in the paint booth;
  • Operate exhaust fans in paint booths to reduce hazards;
  • Properly ground electrical equipment;
  • Install automatic sprinklers or other extinguishing equipment for fire safety;
  • Provide personal protective equipment;
  • Train workers in the use of respirators and properly maintain the respirators;
  • Clean dust and paint residue in a manner to prevent further exposure; and
  • Illuminate exit signs.

Company Response

However, the company, which was cited for operations at its metal fabricating shop in Watseka, IL, said it disagreed with the federal agency’s conclusions.

© / alacatr

Including dust particle violations, OSHA cited the company with 15 violations totaling $76,000 in penalties. However, the company said it disagrees with the agency's conclusions.

“We are planning to meet with OSHA officials in a conference to discuss the violations,” Jenny Musk, the human resources administrator at Lyon told Durability+Design News Friday (Dec. 11).

Musk said the company takes its worker’s health and safety seriously and hopes the company and the agency can come to an amicable resolution.

“We are cooperating [with OSHA] and the executive team is reviewing [the citation],” said Musk. “We are working with OSHA in the best interest of our employees. Their safety is our paramount interest.”

According to Lyon’s website, the company has become the “largest and leading manufacturing and supplier of top quality lockers, industrial storage and workspace products” during the past 114 years.

Lyon also says on its website that it is committed to running environmentally friendly operating facilities; uses steel made in the United States; and helps its customers achieves LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

The company had 15 days since the date the citations were issued to respond to the citations; contest them; meet with OSHA officials; or pay the proposed penalties, according to OSHA.


Tagged categories: Exterior industrial pollutant exposure; Health & Safety; Metal coatings; North America; OSHA; OSHA; Powder Coatings

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