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Amerway Inc., an industrial soldering and metal brazing manufacturer, is facing a $49,000 fine for 8 health and safety violations at its Altoona, PA, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Investigators issued citations to Amerway Inc. for three repeat and four serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation.

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OSHA initiated an inspection March 9 as part of the agency’s national emphasis programs for lead and primary metal industries. As was the case in October 2011, OSHA cited Amerway for violations related to exposing workers to unsafe levels of lead, and for respiratory protection failures.

The serious citations relate to the employer’s failure to:
• Implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls to reduce and maintain employee exposures to lead below the permissible exposure level.
• Institute a medical surveillance program for employees exposed to lead above the action level for more than 30 days per year, to include biological monitoring in the form of blood sampling and analysis for lead and zinc protoporphyrin.
• Provide a medical evaluation to employees required to utilize a tight-fitting respirator while working in a regulated area.

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The other-than-serious violation was due to hazardous chemical labeling deficiencies.

“Amerway still has not taken adequate steps to protect its workers from the debilitating medical conditions related to lead overexposure, which is inexcusable,” said Christopher Robinson, director of the OSHA Pittsburgh Area Office. “The most effective way to minimize worker lead exposure is through engineering controls, medical surveillance, training and the use of personal protective clothing and equipment such as respirators.”

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