Noise, Silca Dust Issues at OH Foundry

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 @ 12:01 PM gHale


While operating an industrial machine, a worker at MCM Precision Castings Inc. was exposed to noise levels that averaged 97 decibels, equal to the noise of a jackhammer, over his eight-hour shift and after an inspection, the company is now facing fines of $76,200 for one willful and 17 serious health and safety violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

MCM Precision Castings Inc. employees also suffered exposure to dangerously high noise levels and crystalline silica dust, a cause of chronic lung disease, OSHA officials said. MCM Precision Castings forges custom sand, ceramic and metal castings for the automotive, railroad, food service and industrial industries.

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An OSHA inspection opened on July 17 at MCM Precision Castings resulted in one willful and 17 serious health and safety violations for not conducting noise testing or providing protective equipment and not monitoring worker exposure to noise at its Weston, OH, foundry.

“With 18 violations, it’s clear that MCM Precision Castings’ priorities don’t include the safety and health of its workforce. Failing to provide basic safety equipment and neglecting to monitor worker exposure is unacceptable,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo.

OSHA cited MCM Precision Castings for one willful violation for failing to provide audiometric testing for employees, which can identify premature hearing loss. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Noise-related hearing loss is one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the U.S., with an estimated 30 million people occupationally exposed to noise each year. This exposure can cause permanent hearing loss that neither surgery nor a hearing aid can correct.

Workers also ended up exposed to silica and other respirable dust in excess of levels allowed during an eight-hour period. The investigation found MCM Precision Castings allowed silica dust to accumulate and failed to implement a respiratory protection program to limit exposure. The company also failed to train employees about hazards and provided inadequate protective equipment.

OSHA inspectors also said MCM Precision Castings did not protect workers from dangerous machine operating parts; machines lacked effective guarding; and improper lockout/tagout procedures ended up used to ensure operators turned off machines before maintenance. The agency found electrical safety violations and unsafe practices related to forklift operations, including allowing workers to ride on pallets moved by a forklift.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.



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