While electroplating machine parts, workers suffered exposure to metal, machinery and live electrical hazards at a Cicero, IL, manufacturing facility because their employer failed to follow federal safety and health requirements, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Exposure to metals, such as cadmium used in the plant, can harm the heart, nervous and digestive systems.

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Following an inspection, OSHA investigators cited Electronic Plating Co. for one willful, eight repeated, eight serious and one other-than-serious safety and health violation. Proposed penalties are $157,080. Electronic Plating employs 30 workers.

“OSHA inspectors found multiple preventable safety and health hazards in this facility, eight of which Electronic Plating violated in 2011,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “Employers cited for repeated violations are failing their employees and their obligation to provide a safe and healthy working environment.”

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OSHA opened an investigation at the facility after receiving a complaint about unsafe working conditions. The agency found numerous violations, including:
• Failure to implement a continuing, effective hearing conservation program
• Lack of personal protective equipment for metal and other hazardous chemical exposure
• Electrical safety hazards
• Inadequate worker training on hazardous chemicals used in the facility
• Lack of medical examinations to monitor employee exposure to chromic acid and cadmium
• Workers exposed to operating mechanical and electrical parts because equipment lacked guards
• Unsanitary conditions
• Powered industrial trucks not inspected, and operators lacked required training

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