OSHA Fines for Electronics Recycler

Monday, October 5, 2015 @ 05:10 PM gHale

Workers separating circuit boards at the Kuusakoski US LLC Plainfield, IL, electronics recycling facility ended up overexposed to high airborne concentrations of lead and cadmium, putting them at high risk for long-term damage to the central nervous, urinary, blood and reproductive systems, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Founded in Finland in 1914, Kuusakoski recycles metal and electronics, with operations on three continents. Plainfield is the site of its U.S. headquarters.

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OSHA inspectors determined Kuusakoski failed to implement engineering controls and monitor employee exposure to these hazards. As a result, the company received a fine of $114,800 for 26 serious OSHA health violations, Sept. 28, including overexposure.

“Lead and cadmium can cause irreversible health damage, but Kuusakoski’s compliance programs lack information on controlling exposure levels and protecting workers through common-sense safety measures like wearing respirators and protective clothing,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “The company must protect the long-term health of employees exposed to these dangerous metals.”

OSHA also cited the company for the following violations:
• Failing to train workers on lead, cadmium and chemical hazards
• Not implementing a respiratory protection program
• No hearing conservation program
• Failing to provide protective clothing
• No showers or separate lunch facility to prevent lead contamination and ingestion
• Lacking housekeeping procedures to remove lead and prevent employee exposure