OSHA has cited Heraeus Materials Technology LLC for exposing workers to dangerously high levels of lead and silver metal, among other violations, at the company's West Conshohocken facility. OSHA initiated an inspection in December 2011 after being alerted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health of a possible exposure. Proposed penalties total $45,265.

"Lead overexposure is a leading cause of workplace illness that can cause adverse health problems, including brain damage, kidney disease and harm to the reproductive system," said Jean Kulp, director of OSHA's Allentown Area Office. "It is critically important that Heraeus Materials Technology takes effective steps to monitor, identify and reduce exposure levels to safeguard its employees' health."

OSHA has cited one repeat violation involving employee exposure to lead above the permissible exposure limit. The citation carries a $27,500 penalty. The company was cited for this same violation in April 2010.

Four serious violations involve overexposure to silver metal, inadequate engineering controls to reduce exposure, the lack of an updated written lead compliance program and failing to provide head coverings to workers. The citations carry $17,765 in penalties.

Detailed information about OSHA's lead standards can be found at www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html.

Based in Hanau, Germany, Heraeus Materials Technology produces conductive pastes at the West Conshohocken facility containing precious and other metals that are used to make circuit boards.