Ohio foundry workers exposed to dangerous noise levels
While operating an industrial machine, a worker at MCM Precision Castings Inc. was exposed to noise levels that averaged 97 decibels, equal to the noise of a jackhammer, over his eight-hour shift. Employees of the Weston, Ohio-based company were also exposed to dangerously high noise levels and crystalline silica dust, a cause of chronic lung disease, OSHA has found.
An agency inspection opened on July 17, 2014, at MCM Precision Castings resulted in one willful and 17 serious health and safety violations for not conducting noise testing or providing protective equipment and not monitoring worker exposure to noise at its Weston foundry. The company faces proposed penalties of $76,200.
"With 18 violations, it's clear that MCM Precision Castings' priorities don't include the safety and health of its workforce. Failing to provide basic safety equipment and neglecting to monitor worker exposure is unacceptable," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo.
OSHA cited MCM Precision Castings for one willful violation for failing to provide audiometric testing for employees, which can identify premature hearing loss. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Hearing loss a big EHS concern
Noise-related hearing loss is one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the U.S., with an estimated 30 million people occupationally exposed to noise each year. This exposure can cause permanent hearing loss that neither surgery nor a hearing aid can correct.
Respirable dust exposure
Workers were also exposed to silica and other respirable dust in excess of levels allowed during an eight-hour period. The investigation found MCM Precision Castings allowed silica dust to accumulate and failed to implement a respiratory protection program to limit exposure. The company also failed to train employees about hazards and provided inadequate protective equipment.
OSHA inspectors also noted that MCM Precision Castings did not protect workers from dangerous machine operating parts; machines lacked effective guarding; and improper lockout/tagout procedures were used to ensure machines were turned off before maintenance. The agency found electrical safety violations and unsafe practices related to forklift operations, including allowing workers to ride on pallets moved by a forklift. In total, 18 serious violations were cited.
MCM Precision Castings forges custom sand, ceramic and metal castings for the automotive, railroad, food service and industrial industries.