The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed $114,450 in fines against Waukesha Iron & Metal Inc., a scrap metal and recycling operation in Waukesha, Wis., for 27 serious violations and four willful violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA opened an inspection in June 2005 after receiving information that workers at the scrap yard were likely to be exposed to lead contained in painted bridge pieces removed from an area construction site.

"Lead exposure is an insidious hazard, not only because of the threat it poses to workers, but also because it can be taken home to their families in their clothing," said OSHA area director George Yoksas, Milwaukee. "Our top priority is to make sure workers go home safe and healthy after every workday."

OSHA's inspection found that workers were cutting the lead-painted materials for recycling without adequate protection from the hazardous substance. Willful citations with proposed penalties totaling $84,000 were issued for alleged violations of OSHA's lead standard. Serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $30,450 were issued for lack of personal protective equipment, training issues, and numerous violations of the cadmium, lead and hazard communications standards.

Waukesha Iron & Metal employs 15 to 20 workers and has no previous OSHA inspection history.