Following an investigation of a Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, recycling facility last month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations for alleged safety violations and a fine of $48,600 to its operator, Abington Reldan Metals LLC, according to the safety agency's website.
The inspection of the Abington Reldan Metals worksite was initiated following a referral from the Pennsylvania State Department of Health after it received reports that employees for the recycling firm had elevated levels of lead in their blood.
The hazards cited by the occupational health organization include the company's failure to prevent employee exposure to unpermitted levels of arsenic and lead, properly clean workplace floors, ensure that workers were sufficiently decontaminating themselves following a shift, institute medical procedures for chemical exposure and conduct hazard trainings about contamination.
"Abington Reldan Metals has a responsibility to ensure its employees have a safe working environment, which includes taking all necessary precautions to protect them from exposure to hazardous materials such as lead and arsenic," Jean Kulp, OSHA director for the Allentown area, said in a statement released by the safety organization. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."
The recycling company has 15 business days to respond to the allegations, during which time it can choose to rectify the problems, appeal the charges before an independent review board or arrange a consultation with the OSHA office in Allentown.
Chemical exposure is a significant issue that can lead to serious injury and the loss of a company's credibility. Businesses should take steps, like conducting trainings and issuing proper protective clothing to employees, in order to keep workers safe and informed.
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