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Wisconsin foundry's apparent negligence could cause work injury

Employees who are exposed to respiratory toxins could suffer serious or fatal work injury. A Wisconsin iron foundry recently received three citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for violations that could have caused work injury to a number of employees. The employer has been fined $50,600 and had previously been cited for a violation similar in nature to this in the past two years by the federal agency.

One violation included the foundry's inability to monitor the level of exposure employees had to crystalline silica dust that may have been inhaled. When crystalline silica dust is inhaled, serious lung disease can develop and sometimes lead to cancer. Reports indicate that the silica dust is known as a serious and potentially fatal hazard and that the iron foundry conscientiously failed to protect its workers.

The additional citations included a lack of eye protection being made available or distributed to workers as well as inadequate caging along ladders. A serious or fatal work injury could occur when either of these regulations are disregarded. Reports indicate that the foundry was aware of mandated regulations and guidelines outlining all safety requirements, including those that were violated. In response to this ongoing violation problem, Wisconsin OSHA has proposed a change in crystalline silica regulations and projects that may save up to 700 lives a year and 1600 work injury cases of lung disease.

Wisconsin employers are required to adhere to government regulations and safety standards to ensure the protection of their employees. When these rules are violated, serious work injury can occur. An employee that has become victim to the safety negligence of their employer may choose to seek all possible workers' compensation benefits available to help cover medical costs and lost wages.

Source: weau.com, "Fines proposed against Wisconsin business for silica dust exposure", Andrew Fefer, March 31, 2014

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