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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 makes employers responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

OSHA Flags Liberty Casting for Silica, Safety Violations

Ohio ferrous foundry faces $270K in fines for a total of 21 citations involving air quality, PEL, PPE, and machine safety

The U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Liberty Casting Company, Delaware, OH, for exposing employees to crystalline silica above the permissible exposure levels at the Delaware, OH, foundry. The agency also cited the foundry for failing to provide personal protective equipment and to conduct hazard assessments in line with OSHA’s crystalline silica standard for metalcasting operations, and also for failing to use adequate machine guarding, develop lockout/tagout control procedures, and exposing employees to fall and electrical hazards.

"Exposure to silica can cause health disorders, including kidney disease and lung cancer," stated Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Employers using products containing silica in their operations are required to take all precautions to ensure employees are protected from life-threatening diseases."

The foundry faces $270,048 in proposed penalties for three repeated and 18 serious health violations.

OSHA issues "repeat” violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A "serious" violation is one that an employer knows or should know about and that present a definite chance of causing serious injury or death, and does not remedy it.

Liberty Casting is a ferrous jobbing foundry with two locations in the central Ohio city, producing castings like pumps, compressors, and blowers, for power-generation, power-transmission, machine tool, construction, and other industries.

"Employers should develop comprehensive safety and health programs to ensure that workers are trained about hazards in the workplace and proper safety and health precautions," stated OSHA area director Larry Johnson, offering OSHA's Crystalline Silica page as a reference for information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to silica in general industry, construction, and maritime industries.

In line with OSHA regulations, Liberty Casting was allowed 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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