Even with "a long standing commitment" to safety, where "safety is a constant priority," a Wisconsin-based Manufacturer has been cited by OSHA for failing to protect employees from airborne metalworking fluids during machining operations
- Three employees were diagnosed with occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis, resulting in a "medical referral" to OSHA
- $26,520 in fines for two citations is the maximum amount allowed by law
- The automotive aluminum castings manufacturer was specifically cited for failing to protect employees from exposure to airborne metalworking fluids during machining operations and failing to evaluate respiratory hazards
- OSHA office director for the Appleton area office said "Employers using these materials in their production must ensure that good hygiene practices are followed, and fluids are properly managed to protect employees from potential lung damage"
- A statement from the manufacturer expressed an on-going focus on safety: "We have a long-standing commitment behind our safety programs, which include comprehensive safety policies and procedures, and equipment to protect our employees. Safety is a constant priority and our response to this reinforces our absolute focus on it."
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a disease of the lungs in which your lungs become inflamed as an allergic reaction to inhaled dust, fungus, molds or chemicals. It can become a serious condition for some whose lungs develop pulmonary fibrosis (lung scarring) after the tiny air sacs in the lungs become inflamed as their walls fill with white blood cells or fluid. The scar tissue may cause trouble with breathing normally.
Safety Requires Vigilance
Note that in spite of the company's statement regarding their focus on safety, the OSHA director's comments mentioned ensuring good hygiene practices. Even with a well thought out and implemented safety plan, employees introduce a variable with their responsibility to follow procedure.
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OSHA [fines] after three workers diagnosed with lung disease | Biz Times
Sheboygan manufacturer cited by OSHA in relation to three cases of lung disease | Sheboygan Press
Learn About Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis | American Lung Association
- Photo from Anamul Rezwan, found on Pexels.com