OSHA Fines Foundry for Exposing Workers to Crystalline Silica Dust

Grede Wisconsin also placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.


The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC, located in Browntown, Wis., for 28 health violations under the agency’s national and regional emphasis program on primary metal industries for exposing workers to crystalline silica dust and other hazards at its Browntown iron foundry following an August 2012 inspection. Proposed penalties for Grede total $274,500. Of the 28 violations, three are deemed repeat violations.

In a release, Kim Stille, OSHA’s area director in Madison, Wis., says, "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 three repeat violations are for exposing workers to respirable dust containing silica above the recommended exposure level, unguarded conveyor tail pulleys and failing to apply energy isolating devices to equipment during service and maintenance.

Similar violations were cited in 2010 following an inspection at the company's Berlin, Wis., plant and in 2009 at Grede’s Browntown plant.

The company was hit with 24 serious violations, including OSHA's confined space permit regulations; excessive accumulation of sand and dust; unguarded railings; failing to provide adequate personal protective equipment for eyes, hands, and face to protect against metal splash hazards; providing hazardous energy control procedures; providing employees with effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area; and providing employee representatives with access to exposure records within a reasonable time frame.

Several violations were cited regarding respiratory protection, including a lack of medical evaluations, fit testing and training. 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.

One other-than-serious violation was issued for not allowing OSHA representatives prompt access to employee exposure records. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.