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OSHA cites Waupaca Foundry

Waupaca Foundry faces nearly $57,000 in fines for alleged safety violations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the foundry exposed workers to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, crystalline silica and noise.

The company also failed to implement a formaldehyde training program and engineering controls to reduce exposure to hazards, OSHA says.

“Waupaca’s willingness to continually allow occupational noise that exceeds safety standards puts its workers at risk of permanent hearing loss and undermines their quality of life,” said Robert Bonack, OSHA’s area director in Appleton. “Our inspectors also found workers exposed to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide and silica dust, a known respiratory hazard that can cause cancer and other health complications. Like all employers, Waupaca Foundry is responsible for implementing health and safety programs to protect its employees from exposure to these and other hazards.”

OSHA cited the foundry for two serious violations and two repeated violations.

According to the citation, investigators found that a machine operator was exposed to 1.2 times the permitted levels of carbon monoxide at Plant 3 in Waupaca.

Air samplings in March and April indicated that core room machine operators in Plant 3 were exposed to formaldehyde, but had not participated in training.

OSHA also found that employees in the shakeout area of Plant 3 were exposed to noise levels as high as 110.7 adjusted decibel levels.

In the Plant 2 casting processing area, OSHA reported that an employee was exposed to a level of airborne crystalline silica that was nearly 1.9 times the permitted level.

According to OSHA, silica dust is hazardous when small particles are inhaled because they can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause silicosis and lung cancer, as well as kidney disease.

OSHA previously cited the foundry for silica violations in January 2002.

Waupaca Foundry released a statement indicating that it will meet with OSHA representatives on Aug. 19 to discuss alleged safety violations.

“Waupaca Foundry has invested millions of dollars to continuously improve our workplace. Investments in air quality, engineering controls, and state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment have been made to keep our employees safe,” the foundry stated.

“Waupaca Foundry employees are protected with personal protective equipment including hearing protection, air-supplied and cooled hoods, protective footwear, safety glasses, hardhats and flame-resistant clothing.”

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