exposing workers to airborne lead and other hazards following an October 2012 complaint inspection at its manufacturing facility on Highland Avenue in Niagara Falls. The manufacturer of plastic containers faces proposed fines of $47,700.
"Exposure to lead can damage the blood-forming, nervous, urinary and
reproductive systems. Impaired health and disease can result from
periods of exposure that can be as short as days or as long as several
years," said Art Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "It is the
employer's responsibility to minimize exposure levels, train employees
and ensure all safeguards are in place."
OSHA's inspection found that workers were overexposed to airborne
concentrations of lead. The airborne lead levels measured at the
facility were 1.71 times the permissible exposure limit of 50 micrograms
per cubic meter of air averaged over an eight-hour period. In addition,
appropriate protective work clothing and equipment, including gloves,
hats or respirators, were not used when employees were exposed to lead
above the permissible exposure limit; all surfaces were not maintained
as free as practicable of accumulations of lead; and employees entering
lunchroom facilities with protective clothing or equipment were not
required to remove surface lead dust by vacuuming or other acceptable
cleaning methods. Other cited hazards included workroom floors not
maintained in a dry condition and prohibited use of an electrical cord. 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.
"One means of eliminating hazards, such as these, is for employers to
establish an injury and illness prevention program in which workers and
management continually work to identify and eliminate hazardous
conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New
Common symptoms of acute lead poisoning are loss of appetite, nausea,
vomiting, stomach cramps, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, moodiness,
headache, joint or muscle aches, and anemia. For more information about
lead exposure, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html.
Tulip Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and
proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest
the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health