In all, the Granite City facility was cited for 18 serious health violations, totaling $223,148 in federal fines. The citations include: failure to implement measures and controls to reduce worker exposure to toxic lead dust, failure to keep accurate medical records, and failure to update its compliant program annually.
According to OSHA, the company also neglected to keep the employee lunchroom free of lead dust.
Other citations include failure to:
- Monitor lead, arsenic, and other chemical hazards
- Train employees on chemical hazards
- Keep surfaces clean from lead and arsenic
- Check effectiveness of ventilation systems
- Implement adequate medical surveillance procedures
- Keep adequate lead exposure air-monitoring records
- Assess respiratory hazards in other work areas
- Provide an emergency eyewash station
The Dangers of Lead and Arsenic
Lead exposure mostly occurs in industries such as construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, and recreation.
Exposure happens during the production and/or use of rechargeable batteries, lead bullets, and radiators. Overexposure, via ingestion and inhalation, leads to severe health issues, such as lowered blood levels, which result in decreased cognitive function.
Arsenic poisoning occurs through chronic or acute exposure. It may cause constriction of veins, which leads to reduced blood flow and decreased nerve function. It’s been linked to diabetes, as well as pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases.
In more serious cases, arsenic poisoning causes skin, bladder, and/or lung cancer, and may even result in death.
“Extended exposure to toxic metals can cause health disorders, such as impaired kidney, lung and nerve function, and can be fatal,” said OSHA Area Director Aaron Priddy in Fairview Heights.
“It is vital for the safety and health of workers that employers comply with OSHA’s standards on toxic and hazardous substances, and develop a comprehensive safety and health program to address all hazards in the workplace.”
How to Limit Arsenic & Lead Exposure
An effective comprehensive health and safety program should be proactive, not reactive.
That program starts with medical surveillance testing, a required portion of most OSHA standards. Medical surveillance keeps employers apprised of their teams’ health, as well as their workplaces’ safety.
The aforementioned foundry failed to implement a medical surveillance program, which would have demonstrated the presence of toxic arsenic and lead.
Worksite Medical makes medical surveillance testing and management easier than ever with mobile medical testing. We bring the testing to your job site, when you need it. Whether you’re working daylight, overnight, or in rolling shifts.
From audiometric & respirator fit testing, to blood work and OSHA, DOT, or NFPA physicals, we’ve got you covered. And, we’ll keep accurate, easy-to-access records, so you’ll be prepared when OSHA inspectors arrive.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!