A wire manufacturer's failure to protect employees from serious hazards such as overexposure to lead has led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue $179,500 in citations against the company. The citations were issued against Davis Wire Pueblo Corp., of Pueblo, Colo., following an inspection that began in July in response to an employee complaint.
OSHA cited Davis Wire for an alleged willful violation for exposing employees to lead in excess of the permissible exposure level (PEL); failure to adequately monitor for lead; and failure to implement engineering controls to reduce lead exposure. Overexposure to lead can harm the gastrointestinal tract, blood, central nervous system and kidneys, according to John Healy, OSHA area office director.
A second alleged willful citation was issued for failure to have a respiratory program, as well as failure to provide medical evaluations, respirator fit-testing and respirator training for employees exposed to lead in excess of the PEL. Proposed penalties total $140,000 for the two alleged willful violations.
A total of $17,500 in penalties was proposed for five alleged serious violations: failure to properly clean and store respirators; lack of an adequate eyewash station; damaged electrical panels; inadequate strain relief on electrical cords; and locating employees' food and beverages in a high-lead area. An additional alleged serious citation, with a proposed penalty of $2,000, was issued for inadequate chemical labeling, and for not providing a hazard communication program and hazard communication training.
Two alleged repeat citations were issued for exposing employees to an ingoing nip point and allowing employees to wear lead-contaminated clothing into their lunch or break room where their table was contaminated with lead. These carry proposed penalties of $20,000.
Davis Wire, located adjacent to the Rocky Mountain Steel Mill, has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])