Federal officials have fined a Rothschild metal manufacturing company for exposing workers to a toxic chemical and other safety hazards found during an inspection.
The Operational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is fining Imperial Industries in Rothschild $161,000 for multiple violations. A 2014 inspection showed that the company exposed workers to unsafe levels of hexavalent chromium that was creating during welding processes. At high levels chromium is able to cause lung cancer and respiratory, eye, and skin damage.
OSHA spokesman Scott Allen says they’re deeming that exposure to the chromium a willful violation of regulations. “Absolutely unacceptable that a company would expose their workers to such hazardous chemicals when there’s such easily preventable alternatives to correct the actions.” Allen says Imperial failed to implement procedures to reduce and monitor exposure levels among workers.
There were a number of other serious violations in the November 2014 inspection. Allen says they found a number of possible amputation hazards and places where workers were underneath suspended heavy loads. “There are guards on these types of machines that are sometimes not put in place or removed so they can increase production, and that’s unacceptable.” There were a number of other serious violations. “Electrical safety hazards, workers were found operating damaged powered industrial vehicles. These are all things that are very basic OSHA standards.” In all, OSHA says that Imperial had 12 serious and 2 willful violations.
The company now has 15 business days to pay the fines, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.
Raymond Neupert, WSAU