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Rulings & Regulations: Griffin Wheel Co. Cited by OSHA for Safety, Health Violations

July 29, 2006
Also, EPA negotiates international pollution agreement

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) filed 39 citations against Griffin Wheel Co. of Wichita, KS, totaling $213,500 in penalties.

Griffin Wheel is an Amstead Industries subsidiary. Following a plant inspection in December 2005, OSHA identified 24 serious and eight repeat alleged safety violations. Seven serious health violations were noted also, including disorderly work areas, use of defective portable ladders, unsafe use of electrical equipment, unguarded work areas above dangerous equipment, and general machine guarding deficiencies. A serious violation is one that could result in death or serious physical harm, about which the employer knew or should have known. Repeat violations involve hazards for which the company was previously cited.

Griffin Wheel has been inspected 10 times since 1980. The company was given 15 days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

EPA Settles With P. Kay Metal On Toxic Chemical Reports

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a settlement with P. Kay Metal Inc. in Los Angeles, over its alleged failures to submit timely, complete, and correct reports detailing the amount of lead released at its facility during 2002.

P. Kay Metal is a lead processor for solder bar and wire manufacturing. The violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act will cost the company $13,090 in fines.

EPA inspectors discovered the violations during a routine inspection. “Facilities that use toxic chemicals, such as lead, must follow our reporting rules so that area residents and emergency response personnel are informed of possible chemical hazards in the local environment,” said Enrique Manzanilla with the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “This penalty should remind others that we are maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices and are serious about enforcing community right-to-know laws.”

Exposure to lead can cause high blood pressure, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, and difficulties during pregnancy.

EPA Negotiates International Pollution Agreement

Teck Cominco Ltd., a world leader in the production of zinc and metallurgical coal in Vancouver, BC, reached a landmark international pollution agreement with the U.S. EPA to investigate contamination in the Upper Columbia River in northeast Washington state.

Teck Cominco will fund and perform EPA-monitored assessment of past pollution in the river running downstream, from the company’s smelter operations in Trail, BC, just 10 miles north of the United States. This basin is a national recreation area.

This study marks the beginning of a clean-up process. The multi-year study will assess risks from contamination to both the people and environment, and covers 150 river miles from the Canadian border downstream to the Grand Coulee Dam area.

Under the agreement, which is fully enforceable and consistent with the U.S. Superfund models and policies, Teck Cominco will complete a remedial investigation and feasibility study, setting aside $20 million to ensure the studies will be completed and conducted at U.S. standards.

“Teck Cominco has a longstanding commitment to protect the environment as a responsible corporate citizen,” said Doug Horswill, senior V.P. with the company. “From day one, Teck Cominco has voluntarily sought a cooperative arrangement with the U.S. authorities to address the public’s concerns surrounding Lake Roosevelt. This agreement is a great step forward in allowing us to fulfill our commitment.”

OSHA Guide to Fall Protection

Safety industry publisher MANCOMM has published The Complete OSHA Guide to Fall Protection, a 140-page book to help protect workers against fall-related accidents, and stay compliant. Of the 10 most-violated OSHA standards (from Oct. 2004-Aug. 2005), the third most-cited standard was fall protection with 5,504 violations. The guide is broken down into several key areas and features RegLogic and colorful, easy-to-understand graphics. For more information, or to order a copy, or visit MANCOMM online.