Ga. Company Fails to Protect Workers from Lead Exposure

July 18, 2001
OSHA cited Delphi Automotive Systems and proposed $116,000 for failing to properly protect workers from over-exposure to lead at the company's Fitzgerald, Ga.,\r\nfacility.

OSHA cited Delphi Automotive Systems and proposed $116,000 in penalties for safety and health violations found during an abatement verification inspection at the company''s Fitzgerald, Ga., facility.

OSHA had initially inspected the plant on March 22, 2000, after complaints about working conditions at the battery manufacturing plant were filed with the agency.

The company was cited at that time for failing to properly protect workers from over-exposure to lead.

Thursday the company was cited for three repeat violations with proposed penalties totaling $85,000 for failing to: provide employees with proper respiratory protection; properly store lead-contaminated clothing, and keep lead dust from accumulating within the plant.

Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The agency also issued seven serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $31,000 for unguarded floor openings, unguarded robotic machines;

improperly maintained respirators and for not having "lockout/tagout" procedures in place that would make machines inoperable during maintenance and repair work.

OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

"The company is working with us to correct these hazardous conditions," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA''s Savannah area director. "Hopefully, this cooperative spirit will translate into continued proactive measures to ensure worker safety and health."

The company, which employs 20,000 workers company-wide, has 15 working days to contest OSHA''s citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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