The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Exide Technologies for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, proposing a total of $102,000 in penalties. The company, which manufactures lead products, employs 100 people at its Laureldale site.
OSHA initiated its inspection on August 1, 2008, in response to a complaint. As a result of the inspection, the company received citations for seven repeat violations, with a $60,500 penalty; 19 serious violations, with $41,500 in penalties; and 10 other-than-serious violations, which carry no penalty.
"Each of these hazards compromises the safety and health of employees at the facility," said Bryan Seal, area director of OSHA's office in Harrisburg, Pa. "Exide Technologies can eliminate these hazards and ensure a safe and healthy workplace for its employees by establishing an effective safety and health management system."
The repeat violations are due to employee exposure to lead, the company's incomplete respirator fit test records, the company's use of defective industrial trucks and a deficient cadmium compliance program. OSHA issues repeat violations when it finds a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order.
The serious violations include the company's use of defective machinery, failure to use personal protective equipment, unguarded machinery, use of prohibited flexible cords, an inadequate process involving arsenic, and deficiencies in the company's lead and cadmium compliance programs. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
The other-than-serious violations reflect the company's failure to keep aisles or passageways in good repair where mechanical equipment was used, failure to properly use standard railings, an inadequate respiratory protection program, deficient lockout devices to prevent accidental machinery start-ups and inadequate restroom facilities.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.