The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Martin Foundry Co. in Kansas City with seven serious and five repeat violations of U.S. workplace health and safety laws, proposing penalties totaling $119,000. The latest citations follow last spring’s criminal charges alleging the nonferrous sand foundry’s owner and his safety consultants refused OSHA inspectors’ access to the plant site.
Martin Foundry Co. Inc., owner Darrell Stone and representatives of Compliance Professionals Inc. admitted they disobeyed an administrative search warrant issued by Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer on April 6, and instructing them to cooperate with OSHA.
In May, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips found Stone and three CPI consultants were in criminal contempt for disobeying the court order, and ordered them to cooperate with the OSHA inspection.
OSHA initiated the inspection earlier this year after the Missouri Department of Health reported a foundry employee with an elevated level of lead in his blood. Exposure to high lead levels may cause kidney and brain damage, anemia and weakness.
Martin Foundry produces brass and aluminum sand castings up to 150 lb., in short runs or large-volume orders, with design and prototyping as well as casting and finishing capabilities.
After the inspection, OSHA concluded that the foundry failed to provide respirators, adequate protective clothing, and training to safeguard workers from lead exposure. It also cited the company for not providing respiratory protection; using compressed air to blow lead dust off clothing; and failing to notify a company laundering workers' clothing of the potential for lead exposure.
In addition, OSHA said Martin Foundry allowed workers to eat and drink in areas where lead was present, and failed to provide shower facilities for employees to remove lead dust and particulates before leaving the workplace.
Five of the violations also were cited following an earlier OSHA inspection at the plant, in February 2014.
"Employers must provide a safe, healthy workplace for their employees without court intervention," stated OSHA Kansas City area director Barbara Theriot. "Lead exposure can have lifelong consequences, but it's easily preventable. The company needs to make immediate changes to its safety and health programs."
In the criminal case, the U.S. District Court in Kansas City ordered each defendant to pay $10,778 for departmental costs. Also, Martin Foundry and Stone were hit with $1,000 fines for failing to cooperate. Each of the third-party consultants was $2,000 for impeding OSHA's investigation and refusing to comply with the warrant.
In the OSHA case, defendants were allowed 15 business days from receipt of their citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.