The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Dlubak Glass Co., headquartered in Natrona Heights, Pa., for 15 alleged health violations, including willful and repeat violations, many of which related to the presence of lead in the plant. The violations follow a March 2012 inspection at one of two Dlubak plants in Upper Sandusky. Proposed fines total $126,700.
"Dlubak Glass Co. has a responsibility to protect the health of its workers by ensuring that they operate in a manner that eliminates or minimizes lead hazards, including exposure," says Kim Nelson, director of OSHA's Toledo office.
The inspection was initiated following a complaint that workers were being exposed to lead and not provided with adequate personal protective equipment in the plant. The company has been cited with a willful violation for failing to make an initial determination of workers’ exposure to lead, according to OSHA. A willful violation is committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The company received a repeat violation for failing to maintain a lunch room free from lead dust and residue, according to OSHA. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Dlubak Glass Co. was cited for this housekeeping violation in March 2011 at its main facility in Upper Sandusky, OSHA says.
OSHA also cited Dlubak for 13 serious violations primarily involving violations of the lead standard, including failing to implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposure, to record initial exposure levels to cadmium and to provide clean changing rooms or separate storage facilities for protective work clothing to prevent cross-contamination with street clothes and to provide medical surveillance for exposure to lead. The remaining serious violations include dry sweeping lead; noise overexposure; a lack of hazard communication procedures; and failing to provide head as well as other adequate personal protective equipment against glass, lead and cadmium hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
In light of the willful and repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA says it has placed Dlubak Glass Co. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.
Dlubak Glass Co. was founded in 1932 in Natrona Heights, Pa. The company serves the automotive, lighting, plate, fiberglass, container and specialty glass industries, with six plants located in Natrona Heights and Upper Sandusky; Lawrenceburg, Ky.; Waxahachie, Texas; Okmulgee, Okla.; and Yuma, Ariz.