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OSHA Fines Metal Castings Firm $274,000 For Repeat Violations

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 12:30pm
Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

BROWNTOWN, Wis. (Manufacturing.net) — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a citation and proposed fine of $274,500 for Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC due to 28 health violations. OSHA says the company is a three-time violator of rules against exposing workers to crystalline silica dust, in addition to the other violations found during an August 2012 inspection. The company has also been placed into OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program due to its repeat violations.

According to its website, Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC owns 17 metal foundries in the U.S. and northern Mexico, along with four machining centers in the U.S. It is operated by Southfield, Mich.-based Grede Holdings LLC. The company has 200 employees at the Browntown facility.

Other violations found by OSHA include unguarded railings; failing to provide adequate personal protective equipment for eyes, hands, and face to protect against metal splash hazards; a failure to provide employees effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area; and others. These are considered serious violations because there is a “substantial” probability that death or permanent physical harm could result from the hazards. In addition, they are classified as hazards that the company either willfully ignored, or should have already known about.

The repeat violations center around the exposure to respirable dust containing silica above the recommended exposure level, unguarded conveyor tail pulleys and the failure to apply energy isolating devices to equipment during service and maintenance. In order for a violation to be considered a “repeat,” the company must have been found in violation at any other facility within the last five years.

The Severe Violator Enforcement Program focuses on companies that have “demonstrated indifference” to repeated warnings and citations by continuing to commit willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. As part of the program, OSHA may now inspect any of Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC’s facilities or job sites for further violations.

OSHA has inspected the company’s 20 times since 2010, resulting in numerous violations. In a statement, OSHA’s area director in Madison, Wis., said: “Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries is compromising the safety of its workers by allowing previously cited deficiencies to continue. Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to workers’ well-being. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job.” 

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GredeWisconsinSubsidiariesLLC_551899_0201_13.pdf.

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