Lead Hazards Bring Safety Fines

Monday, May 11, 2015 @ 12:05 PM gHale

Scrap metal processing facility, Sabel Steel Service Inc., is facing fines of $51,476 for nine serious violations, including failing to complete the initial sampling to determine if employees suffered exposure to lead hazards at its Montgomery, AL, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA initiated the inspection Nov. 4 as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Lead.

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As a result of that investigation, OSHA issued nine serious citations for failing to complete the initial sampling to determine if employees were exposed to lead hazards; not providing proper clothing for workers exposed to lead levels greater than the permissible exposure limit; not providing a room for employees to change their work and street clothes; failing to train workers exposed to lead levels above the permissible exposure limit; not having a warning sign where lead exposure could be present, and not establishing a medical surveillance program for employees.

Lead exposure can cause impaired kidney function, high blood pressure and other negative health effects.

Other violations include not having standard guardrails where employees were working from a roof that exposed them to a fall up to 14 feet, not having specific procedures for performing maintenance and servicing of equipment and exposing workers to electrical shock hazards. One other violation was for not performing a periodic inspection of the locomotive crane in 12 months.

“Lead exposure is a serious health concern and employers such as Sabel Steel need to understand that the fumes produced when cutting metal could exceed OSHA’s permissible exposure limits,” said Joseph Roesler director of OSHA’s area office in Mobile. “As a result, they need to evaluate health hazards employees are exposed to in the workplace. OSHA holds employers accountable for correcting conditions that threaten workers’ safety and health.”

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