The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Dlubak Glass Co. for 15 alleged health — including willful and repeat — violations, many of them related to the presence of lead, following a March inspection at one of its two Upper Sandusky plants. Proposed fines total $126,700.
“Dlubak Glass Co. has a responsibility to protect the health of its workers by ensuring that they operate in a manner that eliminates or minimizes lead hazards, including exposure,” said Kim Nelson, director of OSHA’s Toledo Area Office.
The inspection was initiated following a complaint that workers were being exposed to lead and not provided adequate personal protective equipment in the plant. Lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, blood-forming organs and reproductive system if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities. A willful violation has been cited for failing to make an initial determination of worker’s exposure to lead. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
One repeat violation has been cited for failing to maintain a lunch room free from lead dust and residue. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Dlubak Glass Co. was cited for this housekeeping violation in March 2011 at their main facility in Upper Sandusky.
Thirteen serious violations primarily involve violations of the lead standard, including failing to implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposure, record initial exposure levels to cadmium, provide clean changing rooms or separate storage facilities for protective work clothing to prevent cross-contamination with street clothes and provide medical surveillance for exposure to lead. The remaining serious violations include dry sweeping lead; noise overexposure; a lack of hazard communication procedures; and failing to provide head as well as other adequate personal protective equipment against glass, lead and cadmium hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The current citations may be viewed by clicking HERE.
Due to the willful and repeat violations and the nature of the hazards, OSHA has placed Dlubak Glass Co. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
Dlubak Glass Co. was founded in 1932 in Natrona Heights, Pa. The company serves the automotive, lighting, plate, fiberglass, container and specialty glass industries, with six plants located in Natrona Heights and Upper Sandusky, Ohio; Lawrenceburg, Ky.; Waxahachie, Texas; Okmulgee, Okla.; and Yuma, Ariz. Dlubak Glass has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Toledo office at 419-259-7542.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.