Lead Exposure, Excessive Noise Leads to $106,600 Fine

An investigation that began on Oct. 24, 2011, found that employees were exposed to noise levels surpassing 85 decibels, as well as excessive airborne levels of lead and copper.

OSHA has cited AA Foundries Inc. with one willful and 20 serious violations for exposing employees to excessive noise levels, lead, and copper at the company's worksite in San Antonio. Proposed penalties total $107,600.

"Exposing employees to excessive noise levels can cause hearing loss, and exposure to lead and other contaminants can seriously harm workers' health," said Jeff Funke, the agency's area director in San Antonio. "OSHA's standards exist to protect workers and must be followed to prevent these types of injuries."

An investigation that began on Oct. 24, 2011, as part of OSHA's Primary Metals National Emphasis Program found that employees were exposed to noise levels surpassing 85 decibels, as well as excessive airborne levels of lead and copper, while conducting operations such as pouring molds and grinding on metal cast.

The willful violation is for failing to ensure that employees underwent required annual audiograms.

Serious violations include failing to implement effective lead compliance and air monitoring programs protecting employees from overexposure to lead and other heavy metals such as copper and cadmium, ensure medical surveillance included blood lead testing and monitoring, and provide annual training on hazards of working with lead. Additionally, the employer failed to ensure that employees were protected by effective hearing conservation and respiratory protection programs, respectively.

The company employs approximately 23 workers.

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