Manufacturer Fined $102,000 for Lead Exposure, Defective Machinery, More

OSHA has cited Exide Technologies for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, proposing a total of $102,000 in penalties. The company, which manufactures lead products, employs 100 people at its site in Laureldale, Pa. The agency initiated its inspection on Aug. 1, 2008, in response to a complaint.

As a result of the inspection, the company received citations for seven repeat violations, with a $60,500 penalty; 19 serious violations, with $41,500 in penalties; and 10 other-than-serious violations, without a penalty.

The repeat violations cited include exposing employees to lead, having incomplete respirator fit test records, using defective industrial trucks, and having a deficient cadmium compliance program. OSHA issues repeat violations when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule, or order.

The serious violations include the company's use of defective machinery, failure to use personal protective equipment, unguarded machinery, use of prohibited flexible cords, an inadequate process involving arsenic, and deficiencies in the lead and cadmium compliance programs. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

The other-than-serious violations reflect the company's failure to keep aisles or passageways in good repair where mechanical equipment was used, failure to properly use standard railings, an inadequate respiratory protection program, deficient lockout devices to prevent accidental machinery start-ups, and inadequate restroom facilities.

Exide has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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