Rulings/Regulations: OSHA Fines Radial International Corp. for Safety and Health Violations

Sept. 9, 2006
Pacific Steel Casting faces more battles

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Radial International Corp. for alleged safety and health violations at its brass foundry and aluminum diecasting operation, and assessed a $136,000 penalty. The company, which operates the facilities under the name Radio Casting Corp., employs 35 people in Kearny, NJ.

An investigation was triggered by a December 2005 referral by the Kearny Fire Dept. concerning open burning at the site. The company was cited for three willful violations with a penalty of $90,000; 25 serious violations totaling $45,000; and three other-than-serious violations with a $1,000 penalty. The company had 15 days to contest the citations before an independent OSHA commission.

The alleged serious violations include the open burning of debris within the production area of its facilities, failure to have safe clearance in aisle ways for molten metal transportation, failure to provide easily accessible exit routes, failure to properly guard machinery, and failure to properly protect employees from lead exposure.

Alleged willful violations include the company’s failure to provide free and unobstructed access to exits, failure to provide an effective hearing conservation program, and failure to ensure employees appropriate protection when working with molten metal.

The other-than-serious citations were for failure to provide important safety and health information and maintain proper records.

“These violations have the potential of leading to serious harm to the workers at Radial Casting Corp.,” said Phil Peist, OSHA area director in Parsippany, NJ. “The company must take whatever steps necessary to elimate these hazards immediately to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their employees

Pacific Steel Casting Faces More Battles
Pacific Steel Casting is facing a law suit filed by Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) on the grounds that PSC failed to comply with the Clean Air Act. Another suit, filed by Neighborhood Solutions on behalf of 25 plaintiffs, is seeking $7,500 for each plaintiff.

CBE is a California-based environmental-action group.

The CBE suit was filed as a citizen complaint under section 304 (a)(1) of the CAA and has been assigned to the court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Multi-Option Program, which means the case is non-binding arbitration, early neutral evaluation, or mediation. It seeks between $27,500 and $32,500 per day for every violation of the CAA between December 2002 and March 2004.

In December, Pacific Steel and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District reached a settlement over pollution charges that mandated the company to install a $2-million odor-abatement system, and included a $17,500 fine.

“We are moving forward as quickly as we possibly can,” said company spokesperson Elizabeth Jewel. “We are working closely with the city of Berkeley to finalize these building permits, and we expect that the carbon system will be installed by late fall.”

Also noted:
The U.S. EPA Region 5 reached an agreement with B&B Metals Processing Co. Inc. on alleged clean-air violations at the company’s aluminum recovery plant in Newton, WI. The agreement includes a $30,000 penalty and an $80,563 environmental project to resolve an EPA complaint filed in September 2005 after B&B failed to comply with federal testing, notification, monitoring, reporting, and record keeping requirements for its furnace.

AlCuMet Inc. of Londonderry, NH was fined $42,000 in emissions-testing fines as part of a civil enforcement action involving violations of New Hampshire’s Air Pollution Control Act, Ait Toxic Control Act, and federal Clean Air Act requirements. Under the terms, AlCuMet will pay a $32,000 fine and $10,000 to install emissions control systems. An inspection by the NH Dept. of Environmental Services in September 1999 found AlCuMet had been using beryllium as part of its casting process in 1995, but did not obtain a state permit to do so until 2003. …

Computer manufacturers including Dell and Hewlett-Packard will offer “environmentally friendly” computer equipment for large-volume purchases after meeting Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standards. EPEAT-registered computer products have reduced levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury to guard human health, and are easier to upgrade and recycle. This project was funded through an EPA grant and managed by the Green Electronics Council. …

The EPA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized and prevented the import of over 11,000 pieces of illegal gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles and equipment over the past nine months, assessing over $798,000 in civil penalties. This substandard equipment violates Clean Air Act’s requirement that new gasoline and diesel engines sold or distributed in the U.S. meet EPA emissions requirements to protect public health and the environment from air pollution.