The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration launched a partnership with the state of Wisconsin, six foundries, and four unions, to reduce ergonomic injuries. “This partnership will help employers implement effective safety and health management systems to identify and control serious hazards before they can cause injury,” according to Mel Lischefski, area director in Appleton, WI for OSHA.
The partnership’s goals are: to implement a successful ergonomic program; to reduce the incidence and severity of musculoskeletal disorders at participating facilities; to analyze workstations and work processes for ergonomic hazards; and to document ergonomic control measures and best practices that can be shared with other foundries and the public.
Member plants will implement programs that include management leadership, employee involvement, medical management, risk analysis and controls, training, and education. Participation is voluntary, but incentives are offered, including a six-month deferral from programmed inspections and limited penalty reductions for violations.
The three-year initiative includes the following Wisconsin firms: Neenah Foundry Co., Neenah; ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Waupaca; Brillion Iron Works, Brillion; Roloff Manufacturing Corp., Kaukauna; Manitowoc Grey Iron Foundry Inc., Manitowoc; and the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co., Manitowoc.
Labor unions participating include the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers, Locals 121B, 301, and 271; the United Steel Workers of America, Local 125; International Association of Machinist & Aero Space Workers, Local 516; and the Paper Allied-Industrial Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, Local 70475.
EPA Releases Annual Superfund Report
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program released its fiscal year 2004 report, outlining current progress of the Superfund program.
The report states that the Superfund program spent $507 million in construction and post-construction activities and to conduct and oversee emergency response actions. Another $104 million of appropriated funds, state cost share, and responsible party settlement resources for 27 new construction projects was spent.
Superfund programs completed construction on 40 sites for a grand total of 926, or 61% of the sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). There were 678 long-term, ongoing clean-up projects conducted at 428 sites, and 11 new sites were added to the NPL with another 26 proposed for listing. And, final clean-up plans at 30 sites were selected, bringing the total of sites with final clean-up plans to over 900 of the 1,529 NPL sites, or 66%. For toxic-waste site clean-up and cost recovery, $680 million was secured from responsible private parties, and $228 million was spent on addressing NPLs through assessments, investigations, selecting, and designing cleanup plans, and other activities.
OSHA Fines Bath Iron Works
The Bath Iron Works in Augusta, ME, was fined $124,300 for safety hazards by OSHA following an inspection on March 21, for 39 alleged repeat and serious violations in the shipyard.
OSHA’s inspectors found electrical and fall protection hazards similar to those cited in 2002 during an inspection. These included electrical equipment that was placed in wet or damp locations, ungrounded or unmarked disconnects; inadequate or missing guardrails; tripping hazards and slippery conditions; and blocked fire extinguisher access. New hazards included protruding steel pins; improper storage of combustibles; and damaged or missing safety equipment.
A total of 29 serious citations were assessed a $60,000 fine. Bath Iron Works has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to comply and request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA area director, or contest them before the OSHA review commission.
“Although many of the items were promptly corrected, they point to the need for Bath Iron Works to focus consistently and effectively on meeting and maintaining safety standards,” said Anthony Lemire, OSHA’s area director for Maine.
EPA Settles Clean-Air Charges with Indianapolis Casting
According to the U.S. EPA, its Region 5 administration has agreed on a settlement program with Indianapolis Casting Corp. concerning alleged clean-air violations at that company’s iron foundry. Indianapolis Casting is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Truck and Engine Corp.
“To improve air quality in the Indianapolis area, Indianapolis Casting has agreed to fund the retrofitting of 139 diesel-powered city buses with emission control devices,” said regional administrator Thomas V. Skinner. He added that the company also will pay a penalty of $445,960.
EPA alleges that improvements to the coremaking process at Indianapolis Casting were made without construction and operating permits, and significantly increase volatile organic compound emissions. The primary VOC emitted is triethylamine. Also, the agency alleges that ICC failed to comply with lowest achievable emission rate requirements, and failed to make reductions elsewhere that would offset the increased VOC emissions, as required.
Triethylamine is a hazardous air pollutant that can cause eye irritation, corneal swelling, halo vision, and skin and mucous membrane irritation after short-term exposure. The effects have been reversible when exposure stops, EPA explains.
VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone (smog) formation. Smog can cause various respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
EPA also ordered ICC to get appropriate permits for its core machines, and to operate proper air-pollution control devices for the coremaking operation. The order requires testing, operation, and maintenance of those control devices according to federal standards.
• The EPA finally cleaned up a typo in the 2003 regulation relating to “clean charge” aluminum used by smelters and foundries. The Federal Register noticed a “punctuation error in the definition” for the National Emission Standards for Secondary Aluminum Production. A total of eight semi-colons were dropped from the original text. A portion of the text read “; aluminum scrap known by the owner or operator” and “coating and lubricants;”. Strictly applied, the current rulebook bars companies that have chosen the “clean charge” intake option from melting ingot or billet with labeling information painted on the surface. The issue arose during a Briggs & Stratton inspection when a EPA inspector applied the narrow interpretation. …
• OSHA awarded more than $10.3 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants to labor unions, community colleges, and other nonprofit organizations for safety and health training and educational programs. In the general industry category, the Non-Ferrous Founders Society was awarded $79,000 to develop bilingual training materials and in the Institutional Competency Building Grants category, the UAW of Detroit, MI was awarded $230,000; the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers Intl. Union of Nashville, TN received $231,000 and its Pittsburgh, PA counterpart received $113,250. …
• Union Foundry, a subsidiary of McWane Inc., won in the safety category and was a finalist in the community involvement category during the 2005 Industry Awards of Excellence breakfast, sponsored by the Calhoun Co. Chamber of Commerce in Alabama. The foundry achieved the goal of one million hours with no-lost time accidents. …
• OmniSource’s Ft. Wayne, IN ferrous division was presented with the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Merit Award, recognizing companies that exhibit exemplary occupational safety and health management programs. The facility won the award in 2004 as well.…
• The United Steelworkers announced that a violation issued by the Ohio EPA to Ormet Corporation raises questions about the company’s ability to operate its facilities safely without its regular workers. Over 1,200 members of Locals 5274 and 5760 have been on strike since late 2004. …
• New Jersey Shell Casting Corp. will pay a $6,680 penalty to settle alleged hazardous waste violations at its Marietta, PA, brass and aluminum foundry. The company allegedly failed to store hazardous waste containing lead properly, and did not properly label the material as such. …
• OSHA has fined Acme Foundry Inc. of Coffeyville, KS, $113,800 following a safety and health inspection of its iron casting plant in April. The agency alleges 37 violations of health and safety rules.