OSHA Cites Ala. Firm with More Than $122,000 in Penalties for Reported Safety Violations

July 14, 2004

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a $122,200 fine against Lee Brass Company for reportedly exposing workers to health and safety hazards observed during a January 2004 inspection.

The company manufactures brass plumbing fittings and valves, and operates two foundries and a smelter in Anniston, Ala., where approximately 240 workers are employed.

“We must ensure that employers protect their workers from occupational hazards, so that injury and illness rates continue to decline,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. “The significant penalty of $122,200 imposed in this case demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers.”

OSHA issued one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $49,500, for failure to require workers to wear respirators when exposed to lead above permissible levels. The agency also issued citations for alleged serious violations of safety and health standards, with proposed penalties of $72,700.

These included failure to implement controls to reduce employee exposure to silica and lead, failure to implement an adequate respiratory protection program, failure to provide required machine guarding, and failure to develop and implement a lockout-tagout program to make machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair.

Lee Brass Company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA conducted the inspection under terms of a partnership with the Molten Metal Industry Employers in Alabama and the Alabama Safe State Consultation Program.

Aimed at protecting molten metal industry workers from exposure to silica, lead and noise, the partnership calls for randomly selected inspections of companies in the industry.

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