Aluminum Manufacturer Cited After Workers Develop Lung Disease

Sheboygan, WI – OSHA has cited Nemak USA Inc. for exposing workers to metalworking fluids used on aluminum after three employees were diagnosed with occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a debilitating lung disease.

The company faces penalties of $26,520 for two serious health violations, the maximum penalty allowed by law.

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an immunologic pulmonary disease resulting from exposure to environmental antigens such as organic dust particles. Once exposed, sensitization to the antigen may occur. 

OSHA initiated an inspection at the company’s automotive aluminum castings manufacturing facility in August 2018 after receiving a medical referral.

OSHA cited the company for failing to protect the employees from exposure to airborne metalworking fluids during machining operations and failing to evaluate respiratory hazards.

Appleton Area Office Director, Robert Bonack, 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.” 

Visit the OSHA Metalworking Fluids webpage for information on evaluating exposure, and effective exposure prevention programs.