Battery Manufacturer Faces $160,727 in OSHA Penalties for Unsafe Lead Levels
The company was previously cited for similar citations in 2018 and 2019.
- By Robert Yaniz Jr.
- Oct 02, 2023
U.S. Battery Manufacturing of Augusta Inc.—an Augusta, Georgia-based battery manufacturer—is facing $160,727 in penalties following an OSHA investigation that uncovered employees' exposure to hazardous lead levels.
According to a release dated Sept. 27, OSHA identified the extreme lead levels based on personal air monitoring of workers and the lead accumulation on respirators and counters in break areas. Overall, the agency issued two repeat and two serious citations to U.S. Battery Manufacturing of Augusta following inspections that began in May 2023.
OSHA determined the company had inadequate engineering and work practice controls to reduce employees’ lead exposure as well as a failure to prevent lead accumulation on various surfaces. In addition to having high concentrations of lead, U.S. Battery Manufacturing of Augusta did not ensure employees’ respirators were cleaned and disinfected regularly.
“U.S. Battery is well aware that elevated lead levels can cause debilitating and permanent health issues but once again, our inspectors found the employer failing to protect its workers,” OSHA Area Office Director Josh Turner in Atlanta-East said in a statement. “OSHA’s lead standard requires employers to minimize workers’ exposure by using engineering controls, safe work practices and clean protective equipment. Employers are legally responsible for meeting this standard.”
This is not the company’s initial brush with safety violations. Since 2018, OSHA has cited the Augusta facility of U.S. Battery Manufacturing with numerous lead exposure-related violations, including similar offenses in 2018 and 2019. The company now has a 15-day window to comply with the citations, propose an informal conference with OSHA or challenge its findings.
Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.