Three employees were exposed to dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, iron oxide and copper particles and fumes while torch-cutting steel at a scrapyard operated by OmniSource St. Marys. Their employer, CS Metals Inc., did not provide required personal protective equipment or health monitoring, a June 2014 investigation by OSHA found. The agency has proposed penalties of $378,070 for five willful, nine serious and two repeated safety violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
No PPE or monitoring
"CS Metals failed its workers by not providing personal protective equipment and monitoring exposure levels to metal dust, which can cause severe, long-term health effects to the central nervous system and vital organs," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA's investigation found deficiencies with CS Metals' compliance programs for lead exposure, arsenic and other hazardous air contaminants. These violations must stop."
Showers, beards, engineering controls
OSHA found CS Metals' workers were not required to shower at the end of shifts to prevent metal particles from being transported. The company also failed to implement engineering controls that would have limited exposure; provide separate containers to dispose of lead-contaminated clothing; and ensure that workers required to wear respirators were clean-shaven. OSHA issued citations for overexposure to iron oxide, lack of hygiene and housekeeping practices. In 2010, CS Metals was cited for these same violations at its Birmingham, Alabama, facility.
Additionally, CS Metals did not implement an arsenic compliance program, which allowed workers to be overexposed; did not provide properly fitted respirators; and failed to train workers in respiratory protection use and storage.
Host employer also cited
OSHA opened the inspection, which included air and surface sampling, under the National Emphasis Program for Lead after the agency received a complaint that alleged unsafe working conditions. The inspection was expanded to include investigations of the host employer, OmniSource St. Marys, who was cited for three serious violations that carry proposed penalties of $21,000. Nicholas D. Starr Inc., operating as Master Maintenance, was cited for two serious violations, with proposed penalties of $9,000. Master Maintenance is a subcontractor hired by OmniSource St. Marys. All of the violations involved employee lead exposure.
CS Metals is based in Houston and operates numerous facilities throughout Texas, Indiana and Ohio that employ about 80 workers. Three workers were employed at the St. Marys' site.