Company Fails to Protect Employees From Lead Exposure

A Jersey City, N.J., metals reclaiming firm's failure to protect\r\nits employees from exposure to toxic metals is bringing a proposed\r\nfine of $102,000 by OSHA.

A Jersey City, N.J., metals reclaiming firm''s failure to protect its employees from exposure to toxic metals is bringing a proposed fine of $102,000 by OSHA.

The agency is citing the Metallix Corp. for two alleged willful and 29 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards.

OSHA inspected the facility in response to an employee''s complaint of inadequate protection against exposure to lead and other toxic metals.

Metallix Corp. reclaims metals such as lead, beryllium, copper, silver and cadmium by incinerating and melting scrap from computers and other electronic equipment.

During the process, employees can be exposed to airborne particles of the metals.

"Our investigation revealed that this employer, despite being advised to reduce or eliminate employee exposure, failed to take the appropriate action," said David Ippolito, OSHA area director. "Protecting employees from the insidious toxic effects of metal exposure requires a complete and well implemented compliance program. Employers cannot choose to take some actions while ignoring other safeguards."

OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA standards by failing to ensure that employees were provided medical surveillance for lead exposure, and by not giving training on the hazards of the chemicals to which they were exposed and on proper lockout/tagout procedures to follow when conducting maintenance and machinery.

The company has until Sept. 12 to contest the citations.

by Virginia Foran

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