$143K in Fines Issued for Lead, Other Hazards

Inspectors found the company did not implement engineering, work practice, or respiratory protection controls and exposed about 40 employees to lead.

OSHA announced that it has fined R. Stresau Laboratory a total of $143,576 and cited the Wisconsin company for one willful, eight serious, and one other-than-serious violations at its Spooner, Wis., facility for allegedly failing to comply with federal safety standards to protect its employees from exposure to lead used in the production process.

Inspectors found the company did not implement engineering, work practice, or respiratory protection controls and exposed about 40 employees to lead. "Personal and wipe sampling conducted by OSHA found four employees were overexposed – two above the action level and two over the permissible exposure limit. Stresau produces components used by the defense industry to build missiles and warheads. The company currently has a contract with the U.S. Navy," OSHA reported.

The penalties were issued Sept. 23.

"OSHA found that employees were breathing in significant amounts of lead and had elevated blood lead levels. Elevated levels can cause debilitating and permanent health issues," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "R. Stresau ignored federal regulations when it failed to conduct air monitoring for lead and allowed the use of respiratory protection to be voluntary when it should have been required as a health precaution."

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