OSHA cited two Dallas companies, Fortune Plastic and Metal Texas LLC, for allegedly repeating violations of exposing certain employees to lead. They failed health and safety inspections at their worksites and are facing $125,000 in penalties.
A complaint was made alleging the companies were exposing their workers to lead after the workers were found to be cutting lead cables being readied for recycling. OSHA launched an inspection on May 12 and found them to be repeatedly failing to comply with OSHA requirements, such as monitoring workers’ exposure to lead at various frequencies and for not notifying or supplying workers of the monitoring results.
According to OSHA, a serious hazardous violation is one that could have caused death or serious physical harm. Serious hazardous violations are the employer’s responsibility. In some cases, employers have already known or should have known of the potential risk to which their workers are exposed.
OSHA has many procedures to manage hazardous situations, from controlling hazardous energy, to implementing safer, flexible cords and using open-sided floors and platforms. In the instance of Fortune Plastic and Metal Texas LLC, procedures to prevent exposure to lead concentration higher than 50 micrograms per cubic meter for over an eight-hour stretch were not implemented, neither were work controls to reduce lead exposure to their workers.
OSHA states that lead exposure is one of the most common overexposure elements at worksites all over the nation; therefore, they treat lead exposure as top priority. OSHA puts violating companies on a national priority list, giving them 15 business days to comply with the regulations or request a conference to argue the citations.
Lead exposure affects human bodily systems and can cause various health impairments and diseases after long, acute exposure, or even after as few as several days. Being exposed to lead over several years is referred to chronic exposure. More severe and frequent medical symptoms increase with the concentration of lead in the blood.
Symptoms of lead poisoning include loss of appetite, stomach cramps, vomiting, constipation, nausea, insomnia, general malaise, moodiness, headache, joint or muscle aches, anemia, and low libido.
Severe lead poisoning due to occupational exposures can be as serious enough to cause fatalities. Long-term, chronic overexposure can have adverse effects on many bodily systems, such as the circulatory, urinary, nervous and reproductive systems.