Foundry Cited for Willful Over-Exposure to Beryllium, Worker Facial Hair

OSHA has proposed $169,200 in fines against Semco Inc., a beryllium/copper foundry in Marion, Ohio, for willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety and health regulations. The agency opened its inspection in October 2007 to determine if the company had corrected safety hazards found during a 2005 inspection, as agreed. In addition, inspectors wanted to ensure that no other hazards existed as part of OSHA's Toledo, Ohio, area office site-specific targeting program. The inspection found, among other concerns, that the company remained in violation of beryllium over-exposure. Specifically, OSHA has alleged three willful and 21 alleged serious violations of OSHA standards.

Willful violations include employee over-exposure to beryllium, failing to require that employees be clean-shaven when required to wear respirators, and a lack of engineering controls and personal protective equipment in molten metal furnace and pouring operations. Serious violations include issues involving employee exposure to beryllium, lack of or inadequate personal protective equipment, electrical hazards and lockout/tagout violations, which refer to procedures intended to prevent accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance.

"It's disappointing when we find on re-inspection that problems which may lead to death or serious injury still exist," said Jule Hovi, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "There is no excuse for this kind of attitude toward the health and safety of employees." OSHA has inspected the Semco plant four times since 2003 and has previously cited the company for 11 serious and two repeat violations, the agency reported Friday.

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