OSHA – On December 3rd, a metal fabrication company was cited for 15 serious safety and health violations for exposing workers to more than 6 times the permissible exposure limit of dust and metal particles.
“Breathing in contaminates can cause long-term damage to the lungs, respiratory system and lead to major health complications. Companies… 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” – Tom Bielema, OSHA area director for Peoria
OSHA officials were responding to a complaint of unsafe working conditions when they observed employees over-exposed to noise and dust hazards while manually powder coating metal products. OSHA further cited the company for a failure 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
- Illuminate exit signs
The proposed OSHA penalties totaled approximately $76,000 for the 15 serious violations.
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