Safety and OSHA News

Lead hazards lead to $105K fine for Brooklyn manufacturer

OSHA inspected a Brooklyn, NY, manufacturer after getting a report that a machinist had an elevated blood lead level. The inspection revealed workers there were exposed to dangerous lead levels. 

Acme Parts Inc., a brass plumbing fittings manufacturer, lacked adequate protections against lead exposure, according to the recent OSHA investigation. OSHA discovered the company failed to:

  • train employees about lead hazards and provide them proper protective clothing
  • prevent lead from accumulating on surfaces in the plant
  • prohibit workers from eating food and drinking in lead-contaminated areas, and
  • conduct initial monitoring to determine employees’ lead exposure levels.

Acme Parts also failed to review, post the annual summary and certify its 2015 OSHA illness and injury log. OSHA said doing so would’ve determined possible injury and illness patterns among plant workers.

Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, said in a press release:

“An elevated level of lead in a worker’s bloodstream is a serious health matter, and a sign that employees are not being adequately protected against exposure to this hazardous substance. Lead can damage the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs and reproductive system if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities.”

OSHA also found noise and chemical hazards at the Brooklyn plant. In total, the company was cited for one willful, six serious and two other-than-serious health violations, including failure to:

  • institute controls to reduce noise levels
  • provide employees a choice of hearing protection
  • provide proper training, supervision and fittings for hearing protectors, and
  • provide hazard communication training and safety data sheets.

The total fine against Acme Parts is $105,600. OSHA is currently conducting another inspection at the plant to determine if there are any safety hazards.

Acme Parts has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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