2 Employers Cited After Workers Found with Elevated Levels of Arsenic, OSHA Says

2 Employers Cited After Workers Found with Elevated Levels of Arsenic, OSHA Says

One employer faces about $124,780 in proposed penalties while the other faces $53,574.

Two employers are facing citations and proposed penalties after workers were found to have “elevated levels of arsenic.”

According to a news release, OSHA received a referral from the Georgia Poison Center after screening tests revealed the workers’ elevated levels. The agency inspected Arch Wood Protection Inc and the maintenance contractor at the site, Mullins Mechanical & Welding LLC of Carrollton, both of which were working at a site in Conley, Georgia, about 10 miles south of Atlanta.

It was found that a worker's exposure to arsenic was “approximately 20 times above the permissible exposure limit” while drum dumping, according to the citation. A worker's—the citation does not specify if it was the same worker or a different one—exposure was also about 3.8 times higher than the limit when performing the same activity. The employer also did not give respirators to workers going into the area where the drum dumping was occurring, the citations allege.

Per OSHA, Arch Wood Protection was cited for:

  • “Allowing hazardous inorganic dust to accumulate on desks, food packaging, lockers, refrigerators and the inner surfaces of workers’ respirators.
  • Not requiring employees using respirators to remove facial hair that might prevent a proper fit and seal.
  • Allowing workers to enter regulated areas without a respirator.
  • Not requiring contractors to change clothing and decontaminate properly at the end of their shifts.
  • Allowing pallets of materials to block emergency eyewash and shower stations.
  • Not providing adequate eye protection for workers handling inorganic arsenic acid samples.”

In total, OSHA cited Arch Wood Protection for nine violations. The employer—which also faces $124,780 in proposed penalties—contested the findings.

Mullins Mechanical & Welding was cited for not using “adequate work practice controls” and not making sure certain workers showered when they finished working, among other violations, and faces proposed penalties of $53,574, per the citation.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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