An OSHA investigation has determined that U.S. Battery Mfg. Augusta Inc. exposed its employees to unsafe levels of lead. This determination was made after monitoring the personal air of workers and examining the lead accumulation on respirators and counters in areas where workers took lunch breaks. After its May investigation, OSHA discovered that the battery manufacturer did not have controls in place to reduce lead exposure and failed to prevent the accumulation of lead on various surfaces. Respirators were not cleaned or disinfected prior to use, and the company failed to keep lead levels within permissible levels. U.S. Battery Mfg. Augusta was cited for two repeat and two serious violations and faces $160,727 in penalties.
In a recent quote, OSHA Area Office Director Josh Turner said, “U.S. Battery is well aware that elevated lead levels can cause debilitating and permanent health issues but once again, our inspectors found the employer failing to protect its workers. OSHA’s lead standard requires employers to minimize workers’ exposure by using engineering controls, safe work practices and clean protective equipment. Employers are legally responsible for meeting this standard.”