OSHA Hammers Steel Foundry for Overexposing Workers to Crystalline Silica

Breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, an incurable condition that reduces the ability of lungs to take in oxygen.

OSHA has cited Northern Steel Castings Inc. for two safety and four health violations at its Wisconsin Rapids carbon steel foundry for overexposing workers to crystalline silica, a known respiratory hazard. Proposed fines total $95,480.

"Exposing workers to a known hazardous substance, such as crystalline silica, beyond OSHA's permissible exposure limit is unacceptable," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers have a responsibility to monitor workers' exposure to known hazards in their industries, and to ensure that work environments are healthful and safe."

OSHA initiated the inspection after receiving a complaint alleging overexposure to crystalline silica, a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and other minerals. When workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain silica, small particles can be created that are respirable. Breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, an incurable condition that reduces the ability of lungs to take in oxygen. OSHA's inspection confirmed that workers were overexposed to crystalline silica and one willful safety violation was cited.

Northern Steel Castings also was cited for two repeat health violations for allowing workers to be overexposed to iron oxide and copper fumes in the foundry, and for exposing employees to fire hazards when welding inside plywood booths. The company was cited for these violations in 2006.

Additionally, three serious health violations were cited for failing to keep eating surfaces free from contamination by hexavalent chromium, failing to provide ventilation when welding, and for failing to provide adequate emergency exits.

Northern Steel Castings had been inspected by OSHA 24 times prior to this inspection and was cited for overexposure to silica six other times.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. IndustrySafe is here to help. We put together this page with critical information to help answer your key questions about OSHA recordkeeping.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We put together a guide that’s easy to digest so you can ensure you're complying with OSHA's training standards.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus