In addition to complying with state-mandated abatement efforts limiting employee contact with dangerous chemicals, eliminating fall hazards, and improving flammable liquid storage, an Iowa-based manufacturer has agreed to pay state regulators a total of $100,000 in fines, even after enlisting the support of a former federal OSHA director for President George W. Bush
- Des Moines Register reporting in 2017 led to a 5 month inquiry initiated by OSHA at an Iowa-based manufacturer in 2018. The result was a 40 page report detailing 2 citations with 43 documented violations resulting in fines totaling $154,524
- The epoxy resin used to fabricate wind turbine blades, known to cause dermatitis and sensitization, soaked through Tyvek® 400 protective suits worn by workers, causing hundreds of cases of skin injuries at the plant
- In compliance with abatement efforts, they are now using new protective suits that were more carefully researched and tested before being used on the factory floor
- The company still faces litigation in civil courts, accused of instituting a "systematic practice of hiring healthy employees and then terminating them from employment after their employees sustained a chemical injury."
- From the CDC: Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is an inflammation of the skin caused by an immunologic reaction triggered by dermal contact to a skin allergen. For ACD to occur, a worker must be first sensitized to the allergen. Subsequent exposures of the skin to the allergenic agent may elicit an immunologic reaction resulting in inflammation of the skin. The reaction is not confined to the site of contact and may result in systemic responses.ACD may be caused by industrial compounds (i.e. metals, epoxy and acrylic resins, rubber additives, chemical intermediates), agrochemicals (i.e. pesticides and fertilizers), and commercial chemicals
Safety Requires the Right PPE
In spite of the confidence the Tyvek® 400 protective suits instilled in workers and managers, they simply weren't the right protection for the job. This serves as an important reminder that all safety plans should be well thought out and thoroughly researched before implementation.
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[Iowa factory] settles case with Iowa OSHA, brings in new protective gear for workers | Des Moines Register
Skin Exposures & Effects | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)