OSHA Cites Battery Co for Employee Lead Exposure

MILWAUKEE, WI – OSHA has cited C & D Technologies Inc. for exposing employees to lead and failing to implement an effective lead management program. The Milwaukee battery manufacturer faces proposed penalties of $147,822 for two repeated and six serious violations.

OSHA inspected the facility and determined that 14 employees were exposed to airborne lead at levels 11 times the permissible exposure limit.

The company failed to implement sufficient controls to:

  • Prevent exposure;
  • Monitor ventilation for the presence of lead;
  • Post warning signs in work areas that exceeded the permissible exposure limit;
  • Provide respiratory protection; install machine guarding; and
  • Guard floor holes.

OSHA cited the company for similar violations in 2010.

According to the Mayo Clinic, initially, lead poisoning can be hard to detect — even people who seem healthy can have high blood levels of lead. Signs and symptoms usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated.

The following are some of the symptoms that may occur among adults:

  • High blood pressure;
  • Joint and muscle pain;
  • Difficulties with memory or concentration;
  • Headache;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Mood disorders;
  • Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm; and
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women.

According to OSHA Standard for General Industry, found in Subpart Z, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, in 29 CFR 1910.1025training must be taken annually.